Pediatrician killed in hostage situation at Austin clinic

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Police begin to enter a building as they respond to hostage situation at doctor’s office in Austin, Texas, where, police said, two people were found dead after police entered the building Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. After several hours of trying to reach the people inside the building, the Austin Police Department had a robot unit go in and identified a victim, officials said. (Ricardo B. Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A physician with a terminal cancer diagnosis killed a pediatrician and then himself after taking hostages at a doctor’s office in Austin, police said Wednesday.

A SWAT team found the bodies of Dr. Katherine Lindley Dodson and Dr. Bharat Narumanchi late Tuesday after negotiators spent hours trying to speak to the people inside the office, police said.

Narumanchi did not work at the clinic where he held five adult employees hostages for hours, Austin police Lt. Jeff Greenwalt said. Four were either let go or escaped, and no children were there at the time, he said.

Hostages who escaped the office told officers on the scene that Narumanchi had entered Tuesday carrying a pistol, a shotgun and two duffel bags, police said. Authorities have not yet said how Dodson and Narumanchi died.

Narumanchi had applied for a volunteer position at the clinic a week ago and was declined, but otherwise had no known connection to Dodson or the clinic, Greenwalt said.

Narumanchi had recently been given “weeks to live” after his cancer diagnosis and investigators believe that likely played a role in his actions, Greenwalt said. He asked anyone with information to contact police, and said Narumanchi’s family was cooperating fully with investigators.

“The case as far as who did this is closed. We know who did it,” Greenwalt said. “And we know that there’s no longer a threat to the public. But we really, really want to answer the question of why.”

Dodson, 43, was beloved by patients and their families, several people told the Austin American-Statesman.

“You saw her at your worst when your kid was sick, and she just always had a smile on her face,” said Karen Vladeck, whose two children were among Dodson’s patients. “She made you feel like you were the only parent there, even though there was a line of kids waiting.”

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