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1 dead; suspect in custody in University Hospital shooting

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Charles William Gorrell, 85, of Aiken County, is charged with murder.
Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012 3:21 PM
Last updated Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012 4:02 PM
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A Lincolnton, Ga., man was shot and killed in a University Hospital room Tuesday afternoon, and a family member was taken into custody.

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A Lincolnton, Ga., man was shot and killed in a University Hospital room Tuesday afternoon by a family member, police say.  JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
A Lincolnton, Ga., man was shot and killed in a University Hospital room Tuesday afternoon by a family member, police say.

Tim Grooms, 59, was shot on the seventh floor of the hospital on Walton Way, according to authorities.

Charles William Gorrell, 85, of Sudlow Lake Road in Aiken County, was charged with murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, according to Richmond County sheriff’s Capt. Scott Peebles.

Gorrell was being held with­out bond at the Richmond County Jail, Peebles said.

According to Peebles, Grooms is the nephew of Gorrell’s wife, who was being treated for an undisclosed condition. The two men had been involved in a longstanding dispute over family members, he said.

Grooms was shot at least twice in the upper body, Peebles said. The sheriff’s office responded to a call of “shots fired” at 3:09 p.m.

Hospital spokeswoman Re­becca Sylvester said the shooting took place after the victim and a male family member had an argument in a mutual relative’s room on the hospital’s general medicine floor. The patient was not injured.

After the shooting, the suspect immediately put down the gun and surrendered to hospital security, Sylvester said. He was in the custody of hospital security when sheriff’s deputies arrived.

There were no witnesses to the shooting except the people in the room, she said.

People inside the hospital at the time reacted with alarm and disbelief.

Sharbae Walker was in the ICU waiting room on the sixth floor when she heard running from the floor above her. A voice then came over the speaker saying the building was on lockdown.

“We were scared,” she said. “We all looked at each other, wondering what was going on.”

Someone in the room got a phone call from a friend on the seventh floor who said there had been a shooting. Walker said they were nervous, but she commended the hospital’s quick reaction.

“The hospital handled it very well,” she said.

There are no metal detectors or pat-downs to get into the hospital. Officials at other area hospitals said they don’t employ such measures, either. University has its own security force, and its members were the first responders.

Sylvester said no one else in the hospital was in any danger. She said the hospital will re-evaluate security and procedures, which she said they do when such incidents occur.

“We work and we train every day to respond to these types of things,” she said. “Certainly we will look at it to see if we could have done things differently.”

Peebles said an autopsy on Grooms will likely be done today by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab.

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TrulyWorried
14536
Points
TrulyWorried 10/16/12 - 03:35 pm
3
2
University Hospital

how can a person with a weapon get inside University? I thought they had check points established.

stillamazed
1488
Points
stillamazed 10/16/12 - 03:38 pm
3
1
WOW

You are not safe anywhere these days.....how the heck is someone going to go into a hospital to kill someone? They are really bold and I am glad he/she was caught!

grif9505
14
Points
grif9505 10/16/12 - 04:03 pm
3
7
Did'nt Feel Safe

This is excatly why I decided not to have my baby there !!! I visited a friend who had delivered there and there was what looked to be a homeless person on the phone in the hall way with their bags and all...any one can walk in off the street. It really bothered me that the security was so slack. I'm glad they caught the person !!!

toomuch
28
Points
toomuch 10/16/12 - 04:05 pm
3
2
University Hospital

I'm a pastor, and I am at University Hospital fairly regularly. The only time I ever encounter security is after 9:00 PM. Obviously they can't frisk everyone who walks through the doors, but I've always marveled at the easy access. About the only crime that would be difficult to pull off would be stealing a baby, because of tagging procedures.

Samuel Dighan
11
Points
Samuel Dighan 10/16/12 - 04:14 pm
0
10
Medical Collections

This is the reason we need affordable healthcare. No one can afford the skyrocketing cost for treating gunshot wounds otherwise. I applaud University.

beboisme
425
Points
beboisme 10/16/12 - 04:28 pm
6
1
How could terrorists board

How could terrorists board aircraft and take down the Twin Towers? They did as we know, so entering an institution of any kind with a weapon that does not have a check point is not an impossible act. On post and highly observant Security Officers is a start anywhere. Good luck with seeing a check point at U.H.. No one would commit to slowing down a sick patients family member from entering the hospital. They do sign in visitors after 9:oo P.M. and that in it's self is ridiculous because half of the time no one is at the desk and most people come and go as they please, and it's a waste of time for the visitors to sign in, and there is no check for weapons. People who are permitted to carry an exposed weapon would certainly have a shout about not being able to carry their weapon inside a hospital and certainly no Security Officer would challenge a visitor with a side arm for fear they would not have proper management back up if such a situation should arise and the visitor complained. There is a double standard for everything,everywhere.I find it funny that MCG has all of those cameras on the exterior doors and at night the doors are locked but when someone presses the buzzer whoever is in the camera room just releases the door and allows people in without question. Cudos to the Security Officer who entered room 712, you certainly took a risk.

Samuel Dighan
11
Points
Samuel Dighan 10/16/12 - 04:31 pm
0
9
TSA for Healthcare

@beboisme Yes, I agree! The Transportation Security Administration's mandate should include all critical public infrastructure. It is time we expanded the security theater outside airports. A very good idea.

museofsatie
586
Points
museofsatie 10/16/12 - 04:32 pm
10
1
For the record: I had both

For the record: I had both my babies at University Hospital and felt safe the whole time (as did my family who visited). Bad things can (and do) happen anywhere, even places with high security.

Willow Bailey
20603
Points
Willow Bailey 10/16/12 - 04:38 pm
2
2
I wonder where the patient

I wonder where the patient was since they have reported no witnesses.

specsta
6518
Points
specsta 10/16/12 - 04:38 pm
14
0
A Free Society

I have worked in hospitals and I have never known any hospital that screens people who enter the premises, apart from video surveillance of the entrances. No doubt this incident will cause a knee-jerk reaction among the fear-mongers, who will call for TSA-style checkpoints at the entrances. And so we will continue down the road to a police state in this country.

99.9% of people do not bring weapons into buildings that are open to the public. Can you imagine being patted down/frisked/metal-detected every time you go into a grocery store, the mall, a car dealership, a fast-food establishment or your doctor's office? That is called a police state where they are no more freedoms.

I, for one, would rather deal with the miniscule percentage of nutcases who believe carrying a weapon is a good idea on an individual basis, rather than subject every citizen to jack-booted tactics in the name of "security".

There will always be those mentally-bankrupt individuals who believe that the best way to settle a dispute is with a bullet - but most of us have more sense than that. At least I would hope so...

dichotomy
33552
Points
dichotomy 10/16/12 - 04:53 pm
15
1
Geez folks, calm down. This

Geez folks, calm down. This shooting was between relatives. Could have happened in Walmart, the grocery store, or in the middle of the street. Be careful what you wish for if you start talking about security guards grabbing your crotch every time you go into a hospital. There is a certain amount of risk living in a free society. To eliminate the risk you must eliminate the freedom.

And this had nothing to do with guns. If the weapon had not been a gun it would have been a butcher knife or a 2 x 4.

And for gosh sakes what in the world does this have to do with affordable healthcare and the cost of treating a gunshot wound. You want to talk about the skyrocketing cost of treating everything......just add the cost of 24/7 security guards and scanners to every entrance of our corn maze hospitals we are building now.

x58dav8r
112
Points
x58dav8r 10/16/12 - 04:53 pm
4
3
OK, now I understand

"There were no witnesses to the shooting" means the patient was the one killed, right? Not very clear in the paragraph who the victim was unless you really catch that line.

Samuel Dighan
11
Points
Samuel Dighan 10/16/12 - 04:54 pm
0
12
Safe Society

@specsta Think of the children. When you talk about the 1%, those are people who have everything already. Not the children. They should have security so I signed the petition.

toomuch
28
Points
toomuch 10/16/12 - 04:55 pm
4
2
No, the patient was not the one killed...

It was a dispute between two relatives of the patient.

specsta
6518
Points
specsta 10/16/12 - 05:14 pm
10
0
Dichotomy wrote - "There is a

Dichotomy wrote - "There is a certain amount of risk living in a free society. To eliminate the risk you must eliminate the freedom."

Wow, I actually agree with dichotomy on this one...well said!

beboisme
425
Points
beboisme 10/16/12 - 05:15 pm
2
4
Just heard on Channel 12 News

Just heard on Channel 12 News they were both visiting a patient. What an opportunity that was for the suspect. I pray God they weren't there visiting mom or dad.

specsta
6518
Points
specsta 10/16/12 - 05:23 pm
14
1
@Samuel Digham

"Think of the children."

There has been more useless, worthless, ill-conceived legislation and policies based on this "slogan", than any other statement in the history of this country.

How about "think of the children, the adults, and everyone else involved in this society". Children are not some angelic, God-like, to-be-worshiped commodity by whom every decision must be made, at the expense of grown-ups. Parents are supposed protect their children, not the government.

Samuel Dighan
11
Points
Samuel Dighan 10/16/12 - 05:38 pm
1
12
Sign the petiton

Yes, children are not a commodity. Furthermore I agree parents should not protect our government, only children. That seems an impossible task for children with out our help or the 1% opportunities. Please sign the petition regardless. Thanks!

Frank I
1191
Points
Frank I 10/16/12 - 05:44 pm
9
1
1st, University Hospital is a

1st, University Hospital is a private entity not public. 2nd the law does not prevent firearms from being carried legally. I do not recall seeing anything posted, but that does not mean that's not the case. Lastly, as has been previously mentioned, this was a case of feuding relatives so the conflict could have reached it's head in a parking lot, or a gas station or a home or... well, just about anywhere..

Willow Bailey
20603
Points
Willow Bailey 10/16/12 - 05:46 pm
3
2
It was reported on the radio

It was reported on the radio as a female patient. Perhaps she was out of her room for testing in another part of the hospital when the incident occurred. Very sad time for this family.

mosovich
809
Points
mosovich 10/16/12 - 06:04 pm
9
0
Get a grip people..

I can see it now.. The first time someone is stopped and patted down you'd all be crying foul and complaining your rights have been violated..

bdouglas
5138
Points
bdouglas 10/16/12 - 06:35 pm
2
3
Story correction: There is no

Story correction: There is no Sudlow Lake Road in Aiken.

Chancemom
14
Points
Chancemom 10/16/12 - 07:09 pm
12
0
UH Security

As an employee of UH for more than 10 years, I can say with all sincerity that we have a FANTASTIC security department. They are there when you need them and they don't harrass you unnecessarily. As for the security of the hospital. We are not government owned. We are a public entity just the same as Dillards, Kroger, the Post Office. A sick person can show up anywhere in our lives these days. You are not scanned or frisked every time you walk in the GOVERNMENT run Post Office. Why would you think you would be at a hospital. I have been to Dr's hospital, Aiken Regional as well as UH. I have never had security of any kind there either. This is not the norm and should be viewed as the sad situation that it is. University Hospital is as much a victim here as the family of Mr. Grooms. I am proud of the way the staff at UH handled this situation today.

itsanotherday1
43813
Points
itsanotherday1 10/16/12 - 07:38 pm
5
0
Specsta

10 thumbs up on your 16:38.

useful
695
Points
useful 10/16/12 - 07:47 pm
6
0
Dont blame university hospital because some nut shoots someone.

I have been to university hospital many times and I have never felt unsafe.

Jane18
12332
Points
Jane18 10/16/12 - 08:07 pm
4
2
Specsta @ 5:26

This is one time I agree with you Specsta. And as far as agreeing with dichotomy.....I always do! Seriously though, I know people have hard feelings toward people, but, this was so uncalled for. There are families tonight dealing with so much heartache. Being 85 years old, to carry around so much anger toward family is such a shame. Unless this man feared for his life, I cannot think of any reason to be carrying a weapon. The only other reason would be hate...................

r
400
Points
r 10/16/12 - 08:52 pm
5
1
Family dispute

This was an ongoing family dispute. No other person was hurt the man shot his wife's nephew and put the gun down and surrendered on the spot. No witnesses expect the people in the room. I want to see all of you come to the hospital and be treated like you are going into an airplane, Also I want to see your reaction when your hospital bill goes up to cover. Hospitals are doing the best they can to survive and hospital workers handled this to the best of there ability. It was a family fight that ended very badly. One incident in how many years and you want the world to change!!! I will gladly walk back in the doors at 7am and have no more fear of being shot there than filling my car with gas. Get a gripe and pray for the family and what they are going through!!!!

jpmedic65
29
Points
jpmedic65 10/16/12 - 09:14 pm
3
1
Witnesses

"There were no witnesses to the shooting except the people in the room, she said."

JRC2024
9085
Points
JRC2024 10/16/12 - 10:44 pm
6
0
UH is a very safe place to be

UH is a very safe place to be admited or to go and visit. Keen jerk reactions are always bad. Do not sign a petition for a security check point. That is just plain senseless.

thauch12
6741
Points
thauch12 10/16/12 - 11:39 pm
4
1
Are we looking past the obvious?

Not at all defending his actions, but did anyone else notice the fact that this guy is 85 years old?! Sometimes things upstairs aren't working as well as they should be at that age...

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