Authorities have arrested a 51-year-old Ulysses man who they say sent threatening emails that ultimately caused a series of events Wednesday night that led law enforcement to respond to a false report of an active shooter at St. Catherine Hospital.
At about 7:20 p.m. Wednesday, Garden City police received two reports of a possible active shooter at St. Catherine, 401 E. Spruce St. Officers from the Garden City Police Department, Finney County Sheriff’s Office, Kansas Highway Patrol, Holcomb Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation all responded to the hospital, where they conducted a protective sweep of the facility and found no shooter, victims or evidence of a shooter.
Garden City police released no information Wednesday night about what might have prompted the reports of an active shooter, but after investigating the incident further had more information on Thursday.
According to Garden City police, the investigation revealed that Centura Health/Catholic Health Initiatives health care system, a network that includes St. Catherine Hospital and Bob Wilson Memorial Hospital in Ulysses, had received email threats referencing civil litigation involving Centura. As a precaution, and after consultation with law enforcement, St. Catherine and Bob Wilson Memorial decided to initiate their security protocol and the hospitals were placed on limited access, according to police.
Further investigation led authorities to identify a suspect, Scott Bain, 51, of Ulysses, who they say sent the emails. The Grant County Sheriff’s Office arrested Bain at his residence at about 12:45 a.m Thursday on an allegation of aggravated criminal threat, according to Grant County Undersheriff James Biddle.
With heightened security evident at St. Catherine, two people at the hospital contacted friends and family and reported that something was going on at the hospital that prompted the security measures, according to police. The friends and family members took the information provided to them and contacted police with the reports of a possible active shooter.
Garden City police Capt. Randy Ralston said on Thursday he did not know if the callers were patients, staff or visitors, and could not comment on why they reported a possible active shooter because the case is still under investigation.
“I would never say people were jumping to conclusions," he said. "The GCPD would rather people call and it be nothing, then them not call and it be too late,” he said.
St. Catherine was on lockdown for about two hours Wednesday night, and hospital public relations coordinator Shawna Deal said the hospital planned to keep all doors locked, except for the north entrance, for the remainder of Wednesday night.
The Garden City Recreation Commission, which is about two blocks away from the south end of the St. Catherine campus, also had a temporary lockdown during the situation, according to a post on the GCRC’s Facebook page.
A blurry photo depicting a male figure holding an object in his hand and rushing toward two people at St. Catherine’s emergency room lobby was circulating on social media during the lockdown, though authorities confirmed the photo was of a Finney County sheriff’s deputy who was on the scene.
Biddle said Thursday that he could not comment on the nature of the email threats allegedly sent by Bain because it is still under investigation.
According to Garden City police, neither St. Catherine nor Bob Wilson Memorial were named in the email threats.
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