Armed assailant at Jefferson Hospital now in custody
A Wrens man is in custody after entering Jefferson Hospital with a handgun, assaulting an employee and standing off with Louisville police officers Thursday afternoon.
“The assailant attacked a hospital employee in what appears to be an isolated, targeted incident,” a hospital spokesman said. “Local police responded immediately and apprehended the gunman and now have him in custody. The hospital immediately went on lockdown as a matter of safety protocol.”
Sheriff Gary Hutchins said that while his department is handling the investigation, Louisville Police Chief Jimmy Miller was on the scene during the incident.
A sheriff's office spokesman said that sometime after 3:25 p.m. 48-year-old Geoffrey Rowland, of East Walker Street in Wrens, was witnessed forcing his 44-year-old ex girlfriend from the hospital to a vehicle in the employee parking lot.
“The guy came out with a girl after he had hit her several times with a pistol, loaded her in the car and was hitting her,” Hutchins said. “Jimmy got out and pointed a gun at him and he was pointing his gun at Jimmy.”
The spokesman said Rowland threatened to kill the victim, the chief and himself.
At some point during the standoff with Miller the clip fell from Rowland's gun and a Louisville officer incapacitated him with a taser.
“It could have been a serious situation and somebody really could have gotten hurt,” Hutchins said. “The investigation is ongoing.”
Both the victim and Rowland were treated in the emergency room after the incident. Rowland is currently being held at the Jefferson County jail. Charges are expected to be filed on Friday.
“Hospital officials and law enforcement responded quickly, appropriately and according to protocol to contain this incident,” the hospital official said. “The Jefferson Hospital campus is currently safe, secured and open to all patients and employees.”
Hospital CEO Lou Semrad said late Thursday that he appreciates the rapid response of local law enforcement.
“We do go through active shooter drills,” Semrad said. “The staff did exactly what they were supposed to do and through their efforts and the efforts of law enforcement what could have been a very large tragedy was averted.”
Semrad said that Augusta University Medical Center will be assisting his staff in having a crisis and stress management intervention team on the Jefferson Hospital campus Friday to provide employees counseling services if needed.