Hospital worker commits suicide after killing two in US

April 17th, 2009 - 12:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Los Angeles, April 17 (Xinhua) A hospital worker shot dead two people at a hospital in Long Beach near Los Angeles before killing himself, authorities said.
The gunman Thursday shot dead two people at the Long Beach Memorial Medical Center in Long Beach, about 64 km south of Los Angeles, before walking outside and fatally shooting himself, witnesses said.

The shooting sent patients and employees scrambling for cover in offices and bathrooms, according to witnesses.

Police identified the gunman as 50-year-old Mario Ramirez, who came from Alhambra of Los Angeles. He worked in the hospital’s pharmacy.

The victims were identified as Kelly Hales, 56, and Hugo Bustamante, 46.

Long Beach police chief Anthony Batts said the police responded to a report of shots being fired at the hospital at noon and found the two victims shot near the entrance to the emergency room.

Bustamante was pronounced dead at the scene. Hales was pronounced dead later, the police said.

When additional police units arrived, officers found Ramirez dead outside the north entrance to the emergency room, Batts said.

Witnesses told reporters at the scene that Ramirez casually walked through the hospital lobby and repeatedly shot one man, then another, before taking his own life.

“It was one of the co-workers in the pharmacy that did it himself. He worked for the pharmacy,” Charity Perez, whose husband works at the hospital, told KCAL9, a local TV station.

“He was a great wonderful guy. I mean, I’ve been crying, my kids and I have been crying because we all know him. He’s a really nice guy. Always came to work. Always helped when you needed help with medicine so I don’t know what caused it.”

Perez said the shooter may have been notified recently that he was going to be laid off in June. A hospital official said there were no plans for layoffs.

Police said the motive of the killing was still being investigated.

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