WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Police arrested a man early Thursday morning accused of a stabbing at New Hanover Regional Medical Center Wednesday night.
According to officials, Josef Randolph stabbed the mother of his child around 10:30 Wednesday night.
Police say Randolph, a former hospital employee, went to the 8th floor of the hospital where the mother of his 4-month-old child was visiting her mother. That's when authorities say Randolph stabbed the mother of his child in the neck while she was holding her baby.
Hospital officials said the victim has been released from the hospital.
Thursday night, hospital officials said added security measures including the following are in place:
- Additional security
- Additional leadership on campus
- Directors increasing their rounding on all floors and all areas
The hospital has its own special police force and three officers were working when the stabbing happened. One day after the incident, a reporter for this television station walked through parts of the hospital and did not see any visible signs of the enhanced security.
"We want to assure the community that we will take the appropriate steps to continue to balance the open visitation polices that allow loved ones to be with their family members in the hospital while providing a safe and secure environment for all," the hospital said in a statement Friday.
Martha Harlan, a spokesperson for the hospital, said the facility's special police are reviewing the incident to make sure something like this doesn't happen again.
"We're working very closely with the Wilmington Police Department and the staff reviewing the situation to see what we can do to put further measures into place," she said. "We have increased the security but at this point, it was an unfortunate, isolated, domestic incident and a very rare incident."
911 calls provide more detail of the scary moments inside the hospital.
"A girl just came out of her room calling, 'Someone just cut her throat,'" said a witness at the hospital who called 911. "The nurses got her, but we still need somebody to maybe come up here."
Another caller told 911 operators there was a "woman with a baby running around screaming."
"I am at NHRMC I'm on the 8th floor, someone has been stabbed," said the 911 caller.
Yet another caller told 911 operators, "We heard some screaming in the hall. People were running down the hall. Looked like a man had a woman, took her in her room. We could hear people screaming and hollering."
Two male nurses tried to tackle Randolph, and NHRMC Special Police had him in custody for five hours before he escaped. Officials say police were changing him out of bloody clothes and processing those clothes for evidence when he ran.
According to hospital officials, a Code was called around 3:40 a.m. when Randolph escaped custody and fled the campus. The entrances were secured to keep him from re-entering the hospital and to protect the patients, visitors and staff.
WPD was called for assistance and arrested Randolph early Thursday morning at a home on South 15th Street.
The code was lifted at the hospital when Randolph was back in police custody just before 5:30 a.m.
Hospital officials are investigating how Randolph escaped once he was in custody.
Randolph was charged with:
- assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill
- assault by strangulation
- child abuse
- assault and battery
He is also facing two misdemeanor charges on the two nurses involved, which could be elevated to felonies.
Police said Randolph was already facing felony assault charges before the incident at the hospital and had several warrants out against him.
Official documents say Randolph was charged for public intoxication and assaulting an officer in March, 2013. He was also charged for assault on a female and communicating threats on a female in August 2012, but those charges were dismissed in January because the victim did not appear in court.
Randolph made his first appearance in court Thursday for the incident at the hospital, where he was given a court appointed attorney. Randolph will be held in lieu of a $1 million bond. District Attorney Ben David said the bond was set so high because of Randolph's previous history.
His next court date is set for April 26.
Hospital officials said a thorough review process is already underway. They say Randolph was employed at NHRMC from April 2006 to October 2006.