Dr. Katherine Lindley Dodson, the Austin, Texas, pediatrician murdered in her office by another doctor, was remembered in tributes for her kind and caring nature and pediatric work with children.
She was a married mother of three, and her senseless – and somewhat random – death shook the community. “This is our pedi. I am sick and heartbroken and just can’t even wrap my head around this. Literally heartbroken,” wrote one woman on Facebook. “She was incredible and I mean absolutely incredible.”
Dr. Bharat Narumanchi was named by Austin, Texas, police as the pediatrician who murdered Dodson after entering the Children’s Medical Group building where she worked in central Austin. He had terminal cancer and recently applied to volunteer at the clinic.
He took hostages and eventually let them all go – except Dr. Dodson.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Dodson Was Remembered as Always Having ‘a Smile on Her Face’
Tributes poured in for Dr. Dodson from families whose children she cared for.
“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.
“She was my niece’s pediatrician. My brother just told me right before seeing this. They adored her,” a woman wrote on Facebook.
A woman who knew Dodson through family circles wrote, “She was an amazing woman and we are all heart broken and in shock right now. Please pray for her husband and three young children. We did not expect this to end this way. She was a pediatrician. She was kind. She cared for others. She did not deserve this.”
2. Narumanchi, Who Was Also a Pediatrician, Took Dr. Dodson Hostage, Police Say
The standoff and homicide unfolded on Tuesday, January 26, 2021 at 4:29 p.m at Children’s Medical Group. “He had numerous guns on him when he entered the building,” a police commander said in a news conference of the suspect.
Narumanchi had terminal cancer diagnosis and recently tried to apply at the doctor’s office where he crossed paths with Dodson briefly. Beyond that, it doesn’t appear they knew each other.
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.”
Hostage negotiation was tried but didn’t work.
“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.”
3. Dodson Was the Married Mother of Three
According to KXAN-TV, Dodson was married with three children.
Facebook is filled with photos of her with her husband and children.
She was 43 years old.
4. Dodson, Who Grew Up in Baton Rouge, Got Her Degrees in Virginia & Louisiana But Her Residency in Nashville
According to Health Grades, “Dr. Dodson grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and obtained her undergraduate degree from Washington and Lee University in Virginia. She attended medical school at LSU in New Orleans and then completed her pediatric residency training at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital in Nashville.”
The site says, “Following residency, Dr. Dodson spent time as an urgent care physician at Children’s Hospital Boston and served as a Harvard Medical School Instructor. She spent her first ten years in Austin as an attending physician at Dell Children’s Hospital. Dr. Dodson was awarded DCMC’s Pediatric Faculty Member of the year in 2012 and 2017. She was also recognized as one of Superdoctors Rising Stars for three consecutive years.”
She had an undergraduate degree in chemistry from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., 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 residency was at Vanderbilt University Children’s Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee.
5. Dodson Barely Knew Her Killer; Police Say Narumanchi Had Previously Visited the Doctor’s Office to Apply for a Volunteer Position
Did Dodson and Narumanchi know each other? Police said they appear to have had only the most glancing of previous contact because Narumanchi visited the medical office the week before to apply for a volunteer position.
That news came to light from witness interviews. But he had contact with multiple people briefly, not just Dodson.
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. 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.”
“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 was considering hospice care for him.
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