SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Shreveport police say the suspect in a shooting early Wednesday morning inside Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport – St. Mary Medical Center is in custody.
SPD says 41-year-old Taniel Cole was captured by Mississippi State Police near the Alabama state line early Wednesday afternoon.
According to court records, Cole has served time on a 20-year prison sentence for armed robbery and auto theft in Jefferson Parish. It is not clear when he was released. Now, he is awaiting extradition back to Louisiana and faces carjacking charges in addition to attempted second-degree murder. More charges are possible.
Cole’s capture comes after he Shreveport police had previously confirmed that a man believed to be Cole carjacked a woman near the hospital and took her with him to Monroe after allegedly walking into the hospital around 5:30 a.m. and shooting someone on the leg.
The carjacking victim was able to escape, shaken but unharmed, and call 911.
The shooting victim is also expected to survive. Police could not confirm whether he is an employee at the hospital or a patient. In spite of initial reports that the two know each other, police now say they do not believe that to be the case.
A thorough search of the building turned up no sign of Cole following he shooting and police ultimately cleared the building after an intensive search. His vehicle was found nearby and impounded by police.
Cole, who is from Farmerville in Union Parish, reportedly switched cars at Car Town in Monroe around 9:30 am. after his carjacking victim escaped. At Car Town, he took a new vehicle and continued driving East towards Alabama, where he was captured by U.S. Marshals near the Alabama state line in Meridian, Mississippi.
The hospital issued a statement shortly after police announced the building was cleared.
“Today was difficult for the staff, patients and visitors at Ochsner LSU Health St. Mary Medical Center as we responded to a shooting this morning. We immediately followed our emergency and safety protocols, which included locking down the facility. One person was injured with a non-life-threatening condition. We received confirmation from the Shreveport Police Department that the perpetrator is no longer on our campus and out of the area. There is currently no danger to the staff and the hospital is resuming normal operations.
The safety and well-being of our employees, patients and visitors are our first priority. We take security very seriously and are vigilant about keeping our campus, employees, patients and visitors safe. We would like to thank our employees who acted swiftly in a challenging and stressful situation. We are providing dedicated crisis intervention, pastoral care and licensed social workers to support our staff at this time.We are unable to comment further as we are working with the proper authorities during this investigation and giving them our complete cooperation.”Statement from Oschner LSU Health
Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins visited the scene late Wednesday morning and commended a “very collaborative approach” among Shreveport police, Louisiana State Police, and U.S. Marshals in responding to the active shooter situation.
“They worked together today like they work together every single day.”
Perkins said he talked to staff, hospital administrators, and patients.
“They all are very, very greatful for the efforts that came about today to keep them safe. Unfortunately, we had a bad actor in the community, but again, the Shreveport Police Department responded in a very, very strong manner. So we’re greatful that bad actor is no longer on the scene, but we have to be careful with the amount of information that we release because this is still ongoing.”
“This is, unfortunately, the type of situation that we’ve trained for for years, an active shooter type event in which you have a large structure with a number of innocent people in a bad guy with a gun. That’s literally what our officers responded to shortly after 5:30 this morning,” said Police Chief Raymond, who described a quick response and a massive operation.
“Shreveport police patrol officers working their normal shifts were the first to respond. We had officers coming from throughout the city, those that were available came to the scene. Immediately set up a command post, where a supervisor took charge and they began clearing this hospital, which is close to one million square feet. It’s an 18-acre structure and we initially had about 12 police officers clearing that structure, looking for a possible shooter.”
Jason Weams said a friend who works in the hospital called him from the closet where she was hiding around 6:30 a.m.
“She just saw some other nurses running and her supervisor said, ‘Y’all need to go and hide because there is an active shooter on the floor above us.'”
Weems says she has been texting him all morning with updates as the search continues.
“I’m just trying to make sure she’s OK, praying for them, and just making sure everybody makes it through this.”
Crystal Stumon says her 6-year-old daughter and her father are locked down inside the hospital on the fifth floor, just above where the shooting reportedly took place.
“Police were all on his floor, I guess looking for the man,” said Stuman, who was told she could not go into the building. “I’m still scared because they’re saying they haven’t found the man yet, but her dad reassured me that they were OK, so I’m fine.”
SPD Sgt. Angie Wilhite said the entire building was searched with assistance from “just about every agency in Northwest Louisiana,” including SWAT, FBI, U.S. Marshals, and the Shreveport Fire Department.
All incoming patients were diverted to Oschner LSU Health on Kings Highway. Inpatients were sheltered in place and all outpatient procedures canceled.
We have a crew on the scene and will bring more details when they become available.