Gail Sandidge, a 57-year-old nurse, grandmother and Sunday School teacher, was killed on the job Tuesday while trying to save others from a crazed man who thought that hospital employees were to trying to murder his mother.
Witnesses at Good Shepherd Ambulatory Surgical Center in Longview, Texas, say that a man later identified as 22-year-old Kyron Rayshawn Templeton arrived at the medical center to visit his mother, but instead went on a homicidal rampage.
At around 7 a.m. yesterday, according to witness accounts, Templeton whipped out a knife and shouted, “You’re not going to kill my mama.”
He stabbed four people before fleeing, including Sandidge, who was later pronounced dead from her wound.
“She was just saying...‘I’m hurt. He got me,’” witness Jana Jackson told KLTV News. “And that’s when we realized there was blood all on the front of her scrubs.”
Jackson and her husband, Chad, were in the waiting room, when,they say they watched in horror as Templeton stabbed two people while “muttering, and his eyes were kind of wild-looking,” Chad Jackson said.
Sandidge (pictured) then rushed into the waiting room, hearing screams. The man immediately plunged the knife into her chest.
Four others — one hospital employee and three visitors — were injured in the attack. One remained in critical condition Wednesday morning.
Templeton was confronted by cops a short distance from the hospital just minutes after the attacks. Following a brief scuffle, in which no police were hurt, they took him into custody. The knife that police believe he used in the deadly attacks turned up nearby.
The suspect is now held on $2.6 million bond, on one charge of murder and four counts of aggravated assault. Reportedly, Templeton’s mother was scheduled for a surgical procedure that morning.
The hospital’s CEO called Sandidge a hero who devoted her life to caring for others and gave up her life doing the same thing.
“Nurses are protectors by nature, and Gail, she fit that profile,” said Good Shepherd CEO Steve Altmiller at a press conference later Tuesday. “She was protecting her patients in an act of courage today, and in so doing, she lost her life.”
Sandidge worked her own way through Baylor University in order to fulfill her dream of becoming a nurse, a dream that she had held since childhood.
“She was not like a chief nursing officer; she didn’t want to be at the very top because she didn’t want to give up the care-giving,” her sister, Debbie Pritchett, remembered. “She wanted to be a nurse ever since she was 7 years of age.”
Sources: Longview News-Journal, KLTV (2), USA Today