Deaconess murder-suicide shooting leaves 2 dead



Posted on July 8, 2014 at 9:53 AM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 9 at 3:32 PM

SPOKANE, Wash. – Two people were fatally shot at Rockwood Cancer Treatment Center in the Deaconess Hospital complex Tuesday morning. Early reports indicated a man shot his wife and then himself, police said.

On Wednesday, the Spokane County Medical Examiner identified the female victim as Sheena M. Henderson, 30. She was shot multiple times according to the Medical Examiner.

The medical center is located near Downtown Spokane, along West 5th and Monroe.
Authorities said an employee called 911 to report the shooting around 9:30 a.m. Witnesses told KREM 2 News the man walked into a lab area with what looked like a pistol and ambushed Henderson. Witnesses said they heard six shots fired. They described the killing as 'cold' and 'targeted.' The shooting was reportedly carried out 'execution'-style.

Henderson was killed instantly, authorities said. Life-saving measures were performed on the man but he died in the emergency room, officials added.

Police said the shooting appeared to be domestic violence-related. Henderson worked at the hospital, according to authorities. People who knew the victim indicated she was getting a restraining order against her husband because of threats and other problems. Her coworkers said she was afraid of him . Authorities said the couple did have children. The children were reported to be safe and in the care of family members Tuesday afternoon.

Authorities said the suspect had a history of mental illness and was recently involved in a run-in with law enforcement.

“This incident is both a family and community tragedy," said Spokane Police Chief Straub. "The Spokane Police Department will thoroughly investigate this incident and continue to work closely with our law enforcement and community partners to address issues associated with domestic violence.”

Investigators said the shooting was isolated to the seventh floor. Authorities said there were employees, but no patients, present when the shooting happened. Police shut down the area where the shooting occurred. Otherwise, access to the building was not restricted, officials said.

One witness told KREM 2 News she was waiting for her appointment on the third floor when security guards walked into the patient waiting area, told everyone there was a "code silver" and ushered everyone away from the doors and windows. The people were taken into exam rooms.

“No [I wasn’t scared],” said the woman. “Everything was occurring. It was really clear that they'd practiced this and they were moving with confidence. And they were going through the motions to take care of everybody and make it safe.”

WATCH: Deaconess staff trained for 'Code Silver' situation

The witness also said they were in the exam rooms for about 20 minutes before they were given the all-clear to leave.

Marc Downs, who lives nearby, said he walks in the area every morning with his baby son.

“Me and my child were coming down the hill for a little walk and we saw all the police cars and news people and just [were] wondering what was going on and stuff.”
Detectives were called to the scene but SPD officials reported there was no threat to the public.  Police assured employees and residents the shooting appeared to be an isolated incident.

Investigators began speaking with friends and relatives of the couple. Meanwhile, a tow truck arrived at the medical center to remove the suspect's vehicle, which had been parked in the complex's parking garage. Major Crimes detectives began processing the suspect and victim's vehicles.

Spokane Police Chaplains responded to the scene and assisted with grief counseling following the incident. 

The hospital remained open for patients with appointments Tuesday, however the Cancer Treatment Center was closed for the rest of day. Staff in the lobby would be directing patients where to go, police said.