Dallas, TX – A convicted felon out on parole murdered two hospital workers after accusing his girlfriend who had just given birth of cheating on him, according to police.
The alleged killer, 30-year-old Nestor Hernandez, had recently been paroled from prison and was wearing an ankle monitor at the time of the deadly attack, the Associated Press reported.
“In my opinion, this is a failure of our criminal justice system,” Dallas Police Department (DPD) Chief Eddie Garcia said during a press conference Monday. “A violent individual such as this should not have been on ankle monitor and should have remained in custody.”
“The fact that under this broken system, we give violent criminals more chances than our victims,” Chief Garcia said, according to KTRK. “The pendulum has swung too far.”
The series of events leading to the deadly shooting began at approximately 10:20 a.m. on Oct. 22, when Hernandez went to Methodist Dallas Medical Center to visit his girlfriend who had just given birth, the Associated Press reported.
According to court documents, the suspect started “acting strangely” after arriving at the hospital and began accusing his girlfriend of cheating on him, according to WFAA.
He allegedly began searching the hospital room to see if anyone else was hiding inside, then pulled out a gun and began striking his girlfriend’s head with it, police said.
The suspect then allegedly sent “ominous” messages to his family members, according to court documents.
“We’re both going to die today,” he told his girlfriend, according to his arrest affidavit. “Whoever comes in this room is going to die with us.”
Investigators said that when 45-year-old hospital social worker Jacqueline Pokuaa walked into the room moments later, Hernandez fatally shot her, the Associated Press reported.
Methodist Health System Police Department (MHSPD) Sergeant Robert Rangel was out in the hallway with 63-year-old nurse Katie Annette Flowers when the gunshot rang out, according to WFAA.
Flowers looked into the room and was also fatally shot by the suspect, according to investigators.
Sgt. Rangel was able to get to cover and returned fire, hitting the convicted felon in his right leg, police said.
Hernandez was taken into custody after a brief standoff, the Associated Press reported.
He was transported to another medical facility for treatment of his gunshot wound, police said.
The woman he beat with the gun was treated for her injuries and is expected to recover.
Her newborn baby was in the room at the time of the shooting, but was not injured in the deadly attack, the Associated Press reported.
Hernandez has been charged with capital murder.
The DPD’s Special Investigations and Homicide units are handling the ongoing investigation, according to KTRK.
A Texas Department of Criminal Justice (DOJ) spokesperson confirmed that Hernandez had been given permission by the DOJ to be at the hospital with his girlfriend during the birth of her child, the Associated Press reported.
Although the DOJ had no problem with Hernandez being at the hospital, MHSPD Chief Glen Fowler said the hospital facility was not given any information about him being out on parole on an ankle monitor or about his criminal history.
“That’s not something we normally inquire about for a parent,” Chief Fowler said, according to the Associated Press. “This is an extremely horrific, out-of-the-norm situation. I wish that we would have known, but that is not some information that was provided to us beforehand.”
Hernandez was convicted of delinquent conduct constituting the felony offense of assault of a public servant in 2009, and was also convicted of robbery in 2012, WFAA reported.
He was later sentenced to eight years in prison on an aggravated robbery charge, but served just six years before being granted parole on Oct. 21, 2021.
Hernandez was arrested for violating his parole in March and was released to his parole officer, according to the Associated Press.
He was arrested for violating parole again in June, but was kicked loose yet again in September on the condition he wear an ankle monitor.
The Methodist Health System released a statement saying it is “heartbroken” over the murders of two of its “beloved team members,” KTRK reported.
“Our entire organization is grieving this unimaginable tragedy. During this devastating time, we want to ensure our patients and employees that Methodist Dallas Medical Center is safe and there is no ongoing threat,” the hospital’s statement read. “Our prayers are with our lost co-workers and their families, as well as our entire Methodist family. We appreciate the community’s support during this difficult time.”