Pediatrician ID'd as suspect in hourslong SWAT standoff at Austin doctor's office, police say

Hojun Choi and Tony Plohetski, Austin American-Statesman
·2 min read

AUSTIN, Texas — A hourslong hostage standoff in Austin, Texas, late Tuesday ended after police entered a pediatric office building and found two people dead.

Austin police identified 43-year-old Katherine Lindley Dodson, a pediatrician with Children's Medical Group in Central Austin, and another pediatrician, Bharat Narumanchi, as the two people found dead after a hostage standoff at the medical group's offices Tuesday night.

Police identified Narumanchi as the suspect in the standoff.

Police on Wednesday said they responded to reports Tuesday afternoon that Narumanchi had entered the medical offices with a gun and was holding hostages inside.

"Several hostages initially escaped and others were later allowed to leave with the exception of Dr. Katherine Dodson," police said in a written statement.

According to some of the hostages, Narumanchi had applied for a volunteer position at the offices a week ago. Police also learned that Narumanchi was a pediatrician who was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer.

"Hostages reported to officers that he was armed with a pistol and what appeared to be a shotgun and had two duffel bags," police said. "Other than the previously mentioned visit to this office there did not appear to be any relation or other contact between Dr. Dodson and Dr. Narumanchi."

Hours into the standoff with Narumanchi, SWAT officers breached the offices and found both Dodson and Narumanchi dead from apparent gunshot wounds, police said. Investigators think Narumanchi shot himself after shooting Dodson.

The Travis County medical examiner will be conducting an autopsy to determine the official cause and manner of death, police said.

Officers first arrived at Children's Medical Group around 4:30 p.m. local time.

Police had evacuated some nearby homes and asked other residents to stay inside during the response.

Following several hours of trying to reach the people inside the building, the police had a robot unit go inside the building and identified a victim, officials said.

The SWAT team then entered the building around 10:45 p.m. and found two people dead inside, officials added.

Hours earlier, SWAT negotiators could be heard calling out on a bullhorn to an individual urging them to answer calls or text messages on their phone.

“Your life is very important to me,” a member of the SWAT team said over the loudspeaker. “And I know life is very important to you.”

Some residents near the area were evacuated and others were asked to stay inside their homes. While the standoff took place, people could be seen standing in nearby corners listening to the communications over the bullhorn.

Follow reporters Hojun Choi and Tony Plohetski on Twitter: @hjnchoi, @tplohetski

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This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: Austin SWAT situation: 2 pediatricians dead after hours-long standoff