NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A man was arrested Saturday after a shooting inside of St. Thomas Midtown Hospital.
According to the affidavit, officers contacted security after arriving at the scene. Security said they heard at least two gunshots inside the stairwell.
Security told police that the suspect was on the fourth level of the hospital.
Officers confronted the suspect, 33-year-old Nicholas Pere Zaayenga, with firearms drawn as they gave commands that he followed, and he was taken into custody.
A firearm was located on a chair near Zaayenga. Officials discovered multiple magazines on his person for the same firearm.
Court records show that damage was caused to a door inside the stairwell. Multiple bullet casings were discovered near the suspect with the same caliber as the firearm found nearby.
Officers later discovered that Zaayenga had entered the hospital through a back door. A no firearms permitted sign was posted at the front door with the TCA code at the bottom.
Zaayenga has been charged with reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon, which is a Class E felony.
Ascension released a statement after we reached out saying:
The safety of our associates, providers, patients and visitors is always our highest priority. We are so proud of the prompt response by our associates and the Metro Nashville Police Department. We are most thankful for the safety of all involved. Our campus leaders have visited hospital departments to answer associates’ questions, concerns and provide support. We are fully cooperating with Metro Nashville Police Department in their investigation.
Ascension St. Thomas Midtown Hospital
But for many people like Ronette Bunch, who was visiting a patient, news of the situation came too late.
“I didn’t hear about that. I am going to visit my grandmother, like I said she’s been here for two weeks,” she said.
And it wasn’t just visitors who weren’t told about the dangerous situation though. Employees who want to remain anonymous said they were also kept in the dark.
An employee who was inside the hospital when the shooting happened, tells NewsChannel 5 most of the staff didn’t learn about the arrest, until Sunday morning when word spread around among coworkers.
“It makes me just wonder am I even safe to go into work? Are my patients safe there. I don’t work these next couple days and I know some of my patients are still there. Are they safe. Do their families know,” the employee said.
The anonymous employee said many on staff hope this situation is a wake up call that leads to more safety measures at the hospital.
“I’ve seen many times in many different situations, people do come in after hours and stuff like that they come and go as they please. So I just feel like the security and the safety measures is not there at the hospital,” the employee said.