Senior Constable Luke Warburton, pictured with his dog Chuck, is in a critical but stable condition. Photo: David Darcy A man arrested over a double shooting inside Nepean Hospital’s emergency department overnight was allegedly bailed for a string of offences. Photo: Rachel Olding
A man charged with shooting a police officer and a security guard inside Nepean Hospital’s emergency department is a nurse from a nearby hospital who had been released on bail by police earlier in the day after allegedly attacking three officers.
The 39-year-old man was arrested overnight after allegedly holding a pair of scissors to the throat of a female doctor at the busy hospital in Kingswood, in Sydney’s west, and screaming that he was going to “kill someone”.
The first police officer on the scene, Senior Constable Luke Warburton, was shot in the upper thigh when his gun was pulled from his holster during a scuffle with the man in front of terrified patients and staff just before 10.30pm on Tuesday.
Senior Constable Warburton, 38, from the NSW Police Dog Squad, was listed as critical but stable on Wednesday.
The security guard was shot in the leg and was in a stable condition on Wednesday afternoon.
Fairfax Media has been told the alleged shooter was a registered nurse at Westmead Hospital who had left two years ago, partly due to ongoing problems with the drug ice.
He had never had any troubles with the police until Tuesday morning, when he was arrested and charged with a string of offences, including an aggravated break and enter in the Colyton area.
He was also charged with assaulting two police officers and resisting a third police officer.
However, police granted him bail on the sole condition that he stay away from an address in Colyton.
It’s understood the officers took him to hospital in police custody and served a court attendance notice on him while in hospital.
Hours later, he became embroiled in an argument with his wife, believed to be in her teens, that spilled over into the emergency department ward.
It ended with him allegedly firing Senior Constable Warburton’s gun twice before being subdued and taken away from the hospital screaming and swearing.
An elderly male patient, who was about to go to sleep in a neighbouring room, said he could hear the man screaming “I’m gonna kill you. I’m gonna kill you” and “You took my family”.
Another patient who heard the fight said he believed the man was arguing with his wife and she was among several people who kept screaming “Michael, Michael” at him.
“When the first shot went off, the woman let out this deafening scream. It was horrible. Then when the second shot went off she screamed even louder,” the patient said.
A patient dragged Senior Constable Warburton away from the gunman after he was shot, according to reports.
The man has been charged with shooting with intent to murder, discharging a firearm to resist arrest and detaining for advantage.
He was due to appear in Penrith Local Court on Wednesday but had to be taken back to Nepean Hospital to be assessed.
It’s understood he was discharged from hospital on Tuesday afternoon but somehow sustained further injuries, including a suspected broken jaw, forcing him to return to hospital on Tuesday night when the melee occurred.
He was expected to stay in hospital under heavy police guard on Wednesday night before appearing in court on Thursday.
NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn went to the hospital in the early hours of Wednesday morning, and spoke to the injured officer’s family. She said a critical incident investigation was under way.
“For everybody involved, this is a very traumatic situation,” she said.
“At the moment my thoughts are with the officer, my thoughts are with the officer’s family.
“I have spoken to his wife, his wife is at the hospital.”
Senior Constable Warburton was involved in the arrest of notorious bush fugitive Malcolm Naden in 2012 along with his police dog Chuck.
Gerard Hayes, the secretary of the Health Services Union, said security officers within the NSW health system were faced with violence daily.
“[The shooting] is an outrageous situation. This is an extreme example, of course, but security officers within health are putting up with violent activity every day,” he said.
“The ice situation is really getting out of control, particularly in emergency departments. We’re seeing a growing number of violence issues, particularly related to ice. This needs to be addressed.”
NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner said she had agreed to a request to meet the Health Services Union following the shooting. The meeting is expected to take place next week.
“The security and welfare of staff and patients in our hospitals is always paramount,” Ms Skinner said.
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