Two nurses have filed a federal lawsuit against Kane County authorities, alleging they were beaten and one was raped after a sheriff’s officer allowed an inmate to grab his gun and take hostages at Delnor Hospital, while the officer hid in another room. CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reports.
Two nurses held hostage by Kane County jail inmate Tywon Salters on Saturday, May 13, 2017 at Delnor Hospital in Geneva are suing a guard, Kane County (the where Tywon Salters was incarcerated) and the hospital’s security firm, claiming they failed to properly monitor and secure prisoner Tywon Salters.
The two nurses, listed as Jane Doe I and II, filed a civil-rights action in federal court, represented by their attorney, Sean Murray, who announced the lawsuit Thursday, May 25, 2017 about 11:00 a.m.
Sean Murray said he specifically called a press conference to correct some misinformation that had been widely reported in the media, saying the lawsuit first and foremost says that, contrary to reports that the nurses were not injured, given by the Kane County sheriff’s department and the Kane County state’s attorney, one of the nurses was injured. She was repeatedly beaten, tortured, physically and mentally abused, and raped, Murray said. He added one of the nurses also suffered a gunshot wound when the SWAT Team bullet that killed Tywon Salters also struck her.
Murray also said that there was a pattern of conduct on behalf of the officers that were supposed to be guarding the inmate, that directly lead to the incident occurring.
By history, Tywon Salters was known to the Kane County officials to be a career felony offender, and he was on suicide watch. On two separate occasions Salters had harmed himself to get out of jail.
Salters had demonstrated a pattern of manipulative, deceptive behavior. He had also been combative. Murray said, Kane County knew Salters had been convicted once of a violent felony, was suicidal, and was facing time again in prison.
“With all of these different things going on, that should have triggered some sort of heightened protocol within the Kane County sheriff’s system while detaining Mr. Salters at the hospital,” Murray said. “However, the opposite happened.”
Tywon Salters was in Delnor Hospital in Geneva recovering from eating part of his plastic jail-issued sandals on May 8, 2017.
The Chicago resident had been in the Kane County jail since mid-March when he was arrested in Elgin on a charge of stealing a vehicle.
According to statements in the lawsuit, May 7 2017, Salters was brought to the hospital, after he swallowed hydrogen peroxide. He was “combative” with hospital staff and had to be restrained.
Upon return that day to the jail, he was placed on suicide watch.
On May 8, 2017 Salters ate the jail-issued sandal and swallowed a liquid cleaner, and was again transported to Delnor in Geneva.
According to the lawsuit, while Salters was in the hospital, he was guarded by one officer at a time. Nurses told law firm investigators that they saw hospital security guards repeatedly using their personal cellphones and laptop computers or watching TV, while sitting on recliners and the couch in Salters’ room.
Investigation showed that Salters was supposed to be shackled at all times while at Delnor hospital. Instead, Salters was being unshackled whenever he asked to use the restroom.
About noon May 13, 2017 before he escaped, Salters asked the guard, Shawn Loomis, to remove a leg shackle when he said he had to use the restroom. Afterward, Salters asked to remain unshackled because he thought he would likely need to use the restroom again in a short time period. Salters was unshackled possibly as long as 30 minutes.
Salters was allowed to sit on the edge of the bed, which a nurse was skeptical about, and questioned.
Loomis was seated on a couch behind Salters’ bed.
About 12:30 p.m., Salters took Loomis’ 9 mm handgun, ran down the hallway to another hospital room and possibly hid behind a hospital bed. The guard made a phone call, but did not take any other action. In fact the lawsuit states he hid in another room and did nothing to alert or protect hospital staff.
Meanwhile, Salters was naked with a gun and walked down a hallway and into a nurses’ office and took the first nurse hostage. Salters threatened her, demanded her clothes, cellphone and car keys.
The second nurse entered, and Salters released the first nurse. The second nurse persuaded Salters to let her make a telephone call. The second nurse managed to call downstairs to let other employees know what was going on. The second nurse was able to call a code, and employees were able to activate the hospital’s emergency alert system. The second nurse then got Salters to take her from the third floor to a first-floor decontamination room. She hoped it would minimize patient and employee contact to the least number of other people possible.
“The second nurse was nothing short of a hero,” Murray said.
Her action probably prevented other people from being killed.
Chicago Sun-Times Video: Attorney Sean Murray announces a lawsuit on behalf of the nurses held hostage at Delnor Hospital in Geneva.
Over the next three hours, Salters made the second nurse sit in the darkened room while holding a gun to her head, threatening her, beating her and raping her, according to the lawsuit.
During the time Salters and the nurse were in the decontamination room, two negotiators tried to speak with Salters through the door.
When the SWAT team entered the room and shot Salters, the bullet also struck the nurse, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.
Murray said the point of the lawsuit is also to get Kane County to fully learn what happened that day, and to get Kane County and the hospital’s security firm to improve their practices.
Neither nurse has returned to work, Murray said.
Kane County Lt. Patrick Gengler, the sheriff’s department’s public information officer, declined to comment on the lawsuit. He said, the Illinois State Police investigation into the case is still ongoing.
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