Authorities in Florida have called the shooting dead of two people inside a hospital, “random.” Investigators in the town of Titusville, about 40 miles east of Orlando, say that David Owens, 29, went into Cynthia Zingsheim’s, 88, room and shot her dead along with hospital employee Carrie Rouzer, 36, who was sitting with her. Owens was then tackled by security guards who waited until officers came to arrested. The attack happened inside the Parrish Medical Center at around 2 a.m. on the morning of July 17.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Brevard County Sherriff’s Office Says That Owens Didn’t Know Either of His Victims
Titusville Police Chief John Lau told the media, “The preliminary investigation reveals that the lone suspect entered through the emergency room area. He made is way to a room on the third floor, where he shot an elderly female patient in her room and a hospital employee who was also in the room…Investigators have not been able to determine a motive at this time, nor any connection to the victims.” While Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey had earlier described the shooting as “extremely random,” reports the Associated Press.
WFTV reports that Carrie Rouzer was an employee of the hospital while Cynthia Zingsheim was a patient.
Lau also said that Owens left a handgun inside of Zingsheim’s room. The suspect was taken down by unarmed hospital security. Chief Lau paid tribute to those guards saying that their actions helped to save lives.
On the Parrish Medical Center Facebook page, the hospital paid tribute to the victims saying, “Our hearts are with the families of the two victims of today’s tragic and senseless shooting. We commend our care partners for their loving service and their exceptional response. We are grateful for the service of our law enforcement and for our community’s support. We are asking non-emergency patients and all visitors to enter through the front entrance until further notice. Again, we thank the community for your support and understanding.”
2. Owens Has Been Involuntarily Committed on 2 Occasions
Owens is known to the police in Titusville and has a lengthy criminal history. WFTV reports that the suspect “was involuntarily committed at least twice.” According to WKMG’s Amanda Castro, there’s nothing in Owens’ criminal record to suggest that he would perpetrate a shooting.
Online records show that Owens was arrested in 2014 and accused of domestic battery. Meanwhile in 2015 and in February 2016, Owens was picked up for cocaine and marijuana possession. Her first arrest in Brevard County was in 2012 for loitering and prowling as well as resisting an officer without violent intimidation.
3. Owens Could Face the Death Penalty
The Orlando Sentinel reports that Owens is being held at Brevard County Jail and will be charged with two counts of murder. If Owens is charged with first-degree murder and found guilty, the only statutes are life in prison or the death penalty.
4. The Hospital Has Now Reopened With Extra Security on Site
At a press briefing following the attack, Titusville Police Chief John Lau said that the Parrish Medical Center would reopen with extra security on scene. Lau added that the hospital is running as normal.
According to her Facebook page, Carrie Rouzer is a native of Titusville and a graduate of Seminole High School.
On their Facebook page, the Parrish Medical Center says it was founded in 1958 by Jess Parrish. The hospitals overview reads, “PMC is a nationally recognized industry leader having earned a number of prestigious recognitions, including Modern Healthcare Magazine’s Top 100 Best Places to Work in Healthcare and Spirit of Excellence Awards, America’s #1 Healing Hospital for three consecutive years, HealthGrades® Outstanding Patient Experience Award™, Hospital of Choice Award, National Spirit of Women Premier Hospital, and a disease-specific certification gold seal from the Joint Commission in stroke.”
5. In 2009, a Nursing Assistant Was Shot Multiple Times By Her Husband on Hospital Grounds
In 2009, hospital employee Yolanda Garvin-Williams was shot dead by her husband Jeremiah Williams in the parking lot of the Parrish Medical Center. WESH reported in 2012 that Williams’ first trial ended in a hung jury, a second trial began later that year. Finally, in May of 2012, Williams was found guilty of the murder and sentenced to life in prison, reported WFTV at the time.