By Michael Williams
A man facing a capital murder charge in the shooting at Methodist Dallas Medical Center that left two dead over the weekend was a parolee at the hospital because his girlfriend gave birth to their child, according to court records and a prison official.
Nestor Oswaldo Hernandez was released from prison last October after serving time for aggravated robbery, a Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesperson told The Dallas Morning News. Hernandez was granted permission to be at the hospital “to be with his significant other during delivery,” the prison spokesperson said.
Authorities said Hernandez, 30, walked into Methodist hospital about 11 a.m. Saturday and opened fire — killing two medical workers before he was shot and wounded by a hospital police officer. The employees have not been identified. Dallas police and hospital officials declined Sunday to release new information, including the jobs of the two people slain.
An arrest-warrant affidavit said Hernandez was at the hospital with his girlfriend, who had given birth to their child, when he began “acting strangely.” He accused her of cheating and searched the room to see if anyone was there, WFAA-TV (Channel 8) reported.
He pulled out a handgun and struck his girlfriend with it several times in the head, the affidavit alleges. The girlfriend told police he told her “We are both going to die today,” and “Whoever comes in this room is going to die with us,” according to the affidavit.
The affidavit alleges Hernandez fatally shot the first victim when the person entered the room. Then, the warrant alleges, Hernandez shot the second victim, who looked into the room after the gunshot. A Methodist Health Systems officer also heard the shot and took cover before shooting Hernandez in the right leg.
Hernandez, served a two-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to a 2011 robbery, and a another stint after pleading guilty to a 2015 robbery. In both cases, the victims were badly beaten before property was stolen.
One of the conditions of Hernandez’s parole is electronic monitoring, the TDCJ spokesperson said. Dallas police said Hernandez was wearing an ankle monitor during the shooting. Officials did not answer further questions about the terms of his parole. It’s unclear if Hernandez has an attorney in the capital murder case.
Police have not provided a potential motive for the shooting or said whether the workers were targeted. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a tweet the shooting took place near the hospital’s labor and delivery section.
There were no visible signs Sunday of violence that occurred over the previous day. The hospital was seeing patients and operating as usual. A Methodist spokesperson said the hospital was in the “early planning stages” of a vigil honoring the workers who were killed.
The first robbery took place in December 2011, when Hernandez was 19, according to court records. The victim told authorities he stopped at a convenience store on Royal Lane in northwest Dallas after watching a Dallas Mavericks game, when two people, including Hernandez, made “vulgar” remarks toward a friend of the victim.
The victim walked over to the group to confront them. The person with Hernandez apologized and invited the victim into their car to share a cigarette, according to apolice report.
When the victim sat in the front passenger seat of the car, the person with Hernandez pointed a silver revolver in his face and demanded property. The victim resisted, and was pistol-whipped several times while Hernandez went through his pockets, according to court documents.
The victim was hospitalized with several injuries, authorities said. Shortly after the robbery, Hernandez was pulled over in a traffic stop. A police officer noticed blood inside the car, and Hernandez also had heroin and a .38-caliber gun, authorities said. The person with Hernandez had credit cards with the robbery victim’s name, according to court documents.
Hernandez pleaded guilty to a charge of robbery and was sentenced to two years in prison, according to legal documents.
The second robbery took place in January 2015. The robbery victim was walking into her Dallas apartment when a man and woman pulled her down and threatened to kill her. With his hands around her neck, the man forced the victim into her apartment and demanded money and property, according to police.
The victim grabbed a knife inside the apartment and tried to defend herself, according to police, but she was overpowered by both robbers, who covered her head with duct tape and locked her in a bathroom while they ransacked her apartment. They stole her car, phone and about $3,000 in cash for a school fundraiser before leaving, authorities said.
The victim was taken to a hospital with a broken nose and a broken bone around her eye. Hernandez and a woman were later pulled over in the victim’s car. The stolen money was recovered, according to police.
Hernandez pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery and was sentenced to eight years in prison. Hernandez did not serve his full sentence and was paroled.
‘Beloved team members’
The hospital’s leadership said in a written statement Saturday they had lost two “beloved team members.”
“The Methodist Health System Family is heartbroken at the loss of two of our beloved team members. Our entire organization is grieving this unimaginable tragedy,” the hospital system’s executive leadership said. “Our prayers are with our lost co-workers and their families, as well as our entire Methodist family. We appreciate the community’s support during this difficult time.”
The Texas Nurses Association said in a statement Saturday workplace violence has been increasing since before the pandemic, and the rate of violence against nurses is three times greater than for all other professions.
“No person should fear for their life for merely going to work, especially a nurse or healthcare worker whose passion is to help others heal,” said Dr. Serena Bumpus, chief executive of the association. “We hope our legislators understand that we need to protect our healthcare workers.”
About four months ago, Irving officers fatally shot an armed patient in an emergency room after a nurse said he had gun. The man fired at officers when they confronted him.