Armed patient killed at Geneva hospital after negotiations break down
Authorities shot and killed a 21-year-old Kane County jail inmate Saturday afternoon after he disarmed a jail guard while receiving treatment at Delnor Hospital in Geneva, took two nurses hostage and triggered a lockdown.
Kane County Sheriff's Lt. Pat Gengler said hostage negotiations broke down between authorities and Tywon Salters, of Chicago, and SWAT Team members entered the hospital and shot Salters. Gengler did not have an approximate time when Salters was killed.
Salters was arrested in mid-March and charged with possession of a stolen vehicle, according to Kane County court records. He had been treated at the hospital since May 8 but Gengler declined to say what for, citing health privacy laws.
Kane County State's Attorney Joe McMahon said the hostage situation began in Salters' room on the hospital's third floor when Salters somehow took the correction officer's 9 mm handgun. The officer escaped, but Salters held a nurse hostage until she managed to get away. He left his room, then took another nurse hostage, McMahon said during a Saturday night news conference.
A 911 call was issued at 12:59 p.m., sparking a lockdown of the hospital campus. By that time, Salters had made his way to a room near the first-floor emergency department, and the hostage situation was confined to that area, authorities said.
McMahon said a member of the SWAT team was shot in the upper body. The bullet lodged in his protective vest. The officer received medical treatment and has been released, McMahon said.
Gengler said later officials have not determined who shot the SWAT team member.
The nurses also received medical treatment, but McMahon said he did not know if they were injured or how.
"Somehow, (Salters) got that officer's firearm. He then proceeded to take an employee of the hospital hostage. The officer was able to get away, so it was just the suspect and the female employee," Gengler said. He added he did not know how Salters disarmed the guard.
Gengler said one nurse was evaluated at Delnor and was with her family and did not appear to be injured.
"She's obviously extremely upset over this," he added.
Gengler said the hospital reopened for walk-in patients at 6 p.m. The emergency room reopened at 8 p.m.
Because the county's SWAT team is comprised of numerous jurisdictions, the Illinois State Police were called in around 4 p.m. to investigate the circumstances surrounding the shooting, McMahon said.
He also said the county will review its practices and protocols for prison transfers and hospital visits.
The Kane County jail has a limited medical facility, and any medical condition requiring more than routine treatment is sent to Delnor, Gengler said. He said it is customary for one corrections guard to accompany an inmate to the hospital for treatment.
McMahon said there typically are restraints for detainees in the hospital, but he did not have details on what kind were used.
Salters, whose last known address was in the 100 block of West 103rd Place, is listed in court records as 6-foot 1-inch tall, weighing 155 pounds. He faced up to seven years in prison if convicted. His case was next due in court Wednesday.
Salters had been on parole since Oct. 21, 2016 for a stolen vehicle case in Vermilion County and a robbery case in Kane County.
Kimberly Waterman, a hospital spokeswoman, said patients in the ER were transferred to other hospitals during the hostage situation. Other Delnor patients were receiving care during the lockdown. "All of the patients are secure and safe," she said.
Helicopters hovered overhead as police and other emergency vehicles blocked the parking lot outside the ER.
A group of women filtered out of a nearby hospital wellness building. A woman who declined to give her name said she was at a yoga class with about 20 other people around 2 p.m. when someone came in and said something to the instructor. The instructor didn't immediately say anything, but it was soon announced the campus was on lockdown but no specifics were given.
Patrons were eventually told they could leave and to drive north out of the campus, the woman said.
Daily Herald correspondent Katie Smith contributed to this report.