Hopkins Hospital Security in Hot Water

Liz De La Torre

Talk about taking news badly. According to Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III., fifty year-old Paul Warren Pardus opened fire at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, killing his mother and himself after becoming “emotionally distraught and overwhelmed by the news of his mother’s condition” on Thursday, Sept. 16. David B. Cohen, the orthopedic surgeon who was informing Pardus on his mother’s state, was shot once in the abdomen, but is expected to survive after undergoing surgery.

Around 11 a.m., Pardus went to meet with Dr. Cohen regarding his mother’s maladies. Though details of the discussion have not been made public, Pardus was so upset that he pulled a semiautomatic from his waistband and shot the doctor. Following Pardus’ three hour hold up in a room shortly after, authorities locked down a small area of the Nelson Building while allowing the rest of the medical center, which is made up of a hospital as well as research and education buildings, to stay accessible. Pardus was later found sprawled on the floor with his mother on the bed, both shot to death. The ailment of his mother, eighty four year-old Jean Davis, is unknown, though it is speculated to have been cancer.

Nearly thirty minutes after Cohen was shot, an e-mail was sent ordering staff to remain locked in their rooms and away from the windows. About two hours later, another e-mail assured staff that police were “in control of the situation.” While Hopkins staff and officials maintain “full confidence” in their security, concerns are rampant on how Pardus, who had a handgun permit, was able to pass the metal detectors which apparently screen both patients and visitors. Of the incident, Hopkins Hospital had this to say on Sept. 17: “Hopkins has more than 80 entrances just to the main hospital and 80,000 visitors a week. We currently employ about 400 security guards to protect the hospital and its immediate surroundings. These guards are highly trained professionals and they demonstrated that professionalism during yesterday’s incident, as they have for decades. But as with any very large public place, isolated incidents will occur.” In an effort to quell apprehension, the hospital is currently reviewing security procedures to determine whether signs were overlooked that might have thwarted the shooting.