Fatal Shooting Prompts Security Upgrades at Florida Hospitals

Access control measures and arming security guards are being considered following the shooting death of a patient and a hospital employee.

TITUSVILLE, Fla. – Parrish Medical Center administrators are considering a series of security enhancements at its hospital here in Brevard County, located on the Florida coast about 40 miles east of Orlando. The upgrades include metal detectors and “enhanced protective equipment” for its currently unarmed security officers, according to floridatoday.com.

The re-evaluation of security procedures comes after two people were fatally shot in a third-floor hospital room in Titusville on July 17. This week, the hospital increased security in its emergency department waiting area and at its main entrance, according to the Web site.

In the early hours of July 17, 88-year-old Parrish patient Cynthia Zingsheim and 36-year-old Parrish employee Carrie Rouzer, a “patient sitter” assigned to Zingsheim, were shot in Zingsheim’s room.

Two Parrish security officers responded to the scene, where they tackled and restrained shooting suspect David Owens, 29, of Titusville, until police arrived. Police believe Owens entered the hospital through an emergency room door, then took an elevator to the third floor, according to the news report.

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The potential security upgrades at Parrish were detailed in a “security reminders” memo Parrish officials distributed to their staff. Among other potential “security enhancements under consideration and review” are additional restricted entry points and “enhanced detection devices … to identify prohibited items.”

Separately, Health First, which operates four hospitals in Brevard County, on Thursday began arming some of its security officers as a result of the fatal shooting. It is planning to implement other security changes as well, according to the news report. Wuesthoff Health System, which operates hospitals in Melbourne and Rockledge, is also considering changes to its security procedures.

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