Dr. Bharat Narumanchi was named by Austin, Texas, police as the doctor who barged into a medical office and took hostages at gunpoint before killing a fellow pediatrician on Tuesday, January 26, 2021. The 43-year-old Narumanchi was found by police dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities said.
Austin Police identified the victim as 43-year-old Dr. Katherine Lindley Dodson. She went by Dr. Lindley Dodson. According to police, Dodson did not know Narumanchi, but he had recently applied to work as a volunteer at the office where the hostage situation and shooting occurred. According to police, Narumanchi shot Dodson and then killed himself at the scene.
The standoff and homicide began about 4:30 p.m. at Children’s Medical Group on West 35th Street, police said. “He had numerous guns on him when he entered the building,” a police commander said in a news conference.
The motive is not clear, although Narumanchi was facing a terminal cancer diagnosis and had recently applied to volunteer at the doctor’s office. It was not clear what ties, if any, Narumanchi had to the Austin community. He was mostly recently practicing medicine in California.
“You saw her at your worst when your kid was sick, and she just always had a smile on her face,” said Karen Vladeck, whose children were Dodson’s patients, to the Austin American-Statesman. “She made you feel like you were the only parent there, even though there was a line of kids waiting.
Here’s what you need to know about Dr. Bharat Narumanchi and the shooting of Dr. Lindley Dodson:
1. Narumanchi, Who Was Also a Pediatrician, Took Hostages at Gunpoint but Let Them All Leave – Except for Dodson, Police Say
On Tuesday, January 26, 2021, Austin 911 received a “Gun Hot Shot call” at 1912 W. 35th Street, Austin police reported in a news release.
“The caller reported that a male subject entered their place of business, a doctor’s office, with a gun and was holding hostages inside,” the release says.
“As the incident began to unfold, it was learned that several hostages were in fact being held inside the business. Several hostages initially escaped and others were later allowed to leave with the exception of Dr. Katherine Dodson.”
2. Narumanchi, Who Had Terminal Cancer, Applied to Be a Volunteer at the Medical Office a Week Before the Hostage Situation
Officers conducted interviews with the hostages on scene and “were able to identify the suspect as Dr. Bharat Narumanchi,” the release says.
“Officers also learned that Dr. Narumanchi had been to this office a week ago and applied for a volunteer position. Dr. Narumanchi was a pediatrician who was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer. Hostages reported to officers that he was armed with a pistol and what appeared to be a shotgun and had two duffel bags. Other than the previously mentioned visit to this office there did not appear to be any relation or other contact between Dr. Dodson and Dr. Narumanchi.”
Attempts by hostage negotiators to reach Narumanchi failed.
“We know they had contact a week or two previous when he applied for the position,” police said in a news conference. “He just kind of walked in and had contact with many of people.” Dodson was one of them. Police said Narumanchi’s family had been considering hospice care for him.
3. Police Found Both Doctors Deceased From Gunshot Wounds; They Believe Narumanchi, Who Had Ties to California & Hawaii, Shot Dodson
Narumanchi “completed his Pediatric residency training at Tripler Army Medical Center, Honolulu, Hawaii. After graduation, Dr. Narumanchi worked in the State of California as a General Pediatrician,” according to a St. Joseph’s Hospital bio that appeared to have been removed from the site on January 27.
“Dr. Narumanchi is Board Certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Narumanchi has worked as both an outpatient clinician as well as an inpatient hospitalist and has successfully stabilized and treated critically ill newborns and children.”
The bio added, “Dr. Narumanchi enjoys spending time with his daughter Leela as well as participating in all of the great family oriented cultural, recreational, educational and entertainment opportunities that California has to offer. Dr. Narumanchi has been an asset to the Pediatric community through his advocacy of children’s health. His philosophy is to provide affordable high quality healthcare while creating a bond of trust with families so that children can succeed in life.”
After several attempts at hostage negotiation didn’t work, police decided to enter the building.
“Austin Police SWAT officers made entry and located both Dr. Dodson and Dr. Narumanchi deceased inside the building from apparent gunshot wounds,” the release says.
“Homicide investigators were called out to investigate and process the scene. It appeared that Dr. Narumanchi shot himself after shooting Dr. Dodson.
“Detectives are asking anyone with information or video of the incident to call APD Homicide at 512-974-TIPS, email firstname.lastname@example.org, utilize the Crime Stoppers tip line at 512-472-8477 (TIPS), or the Crime Stoppers app. You may remain anonymous. You can also submit tips by downloading APD’s mobile app, Austin PD, free on iPhone and Android.”
4. Dodson Was a Beloved Physician & the Married Mother of 3
According to KXAN-TV, Dodson was married with three children.
She had an undergraduate degree in chemistry from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, where she graduated magna cum laude, according to LinkedIn. She went to medical school at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans.
Her pediatric residency was at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee. Her LinkedIn page shows she also taught at Harvard Medical School for a year and spent a year as an urgent care physician at Boston Children’s Hospital before a 10-year position as a pediatric hospitalist with Seton Healthcare Family in the Austin area. She had been a pediatrician and partner at Children’s Medical Group for more than three years at the time of the shooting.
5. The Murder Left Co-Workers & Family Members in Shock
A victims’ services counselor was assigned to work with families, friends and employees, police said.
The families were given notification within minutes when it was discovered that both were deceased. A very large crowd gathered, including some people who knew the victim.
“Some of the people in the crowd found out” the victim and suspect were deceased as a press conference occurred, leading to an audible gasp from the crowd during it, police confirmed.
Jody Barr of KXAN-TV wrote on Twitter that a female Austin police officer used a megaphone to “appeal to the doc’s emotions, mentioning his family (who are on the scene) and his two dogs. Also mentioning a female doc also inside who APD said has spent her life caring for children and asked the male doctor to think about that.”
He also wrote that Austin police mentioned the male doctor “working in California and Florida” and said he’s a “good man” who has performed “noble work.”
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