CHICAGO (CBS) — 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.
“Employees just came to work that day to do their job, and they left traumatized for life,” said the nurses’ attorney, Sean Murray.
On May 13, 21-year-old Tywon Salters was being treated at the hospital after eating his jail-issued sandal, when he grabbed a sheriff’s officer’s gun, and took two nurses hostage.
According to a lawsuit filed by the nurses, Kane County Sheriff’s Officer Shawn Loomis removed Salters’ shackles around noon that day so he could get out of bed to use the restroom, and then allowed Salters to use the bathroom unguarded and without restraints.
The lawsuit also alleges Loomis didn’t shackle Salters when he returned to his hospital bed, and sat on a couch while Salters sat on the bed, allowing Salters unobstructed access to the hospital room door. According to the lawsuit, when a nurse came in and asked why Salter was not shackled, Loomis didn’t respond.
About 30 minutes later, Salters grabbed Loomis’ 9 mm handgun, and Loomis ran away and hid in another room, the lawsuit alleges.
Salters then went into an office, took a nurse hostage, forced her to remove her clothes, and physically abused her, according to the lawsuit. When another nurse walked in, he allegedly took her hostage, forced her into a decontamination room, forced her to undress, and held her at gunpoint for more than three hours, while repeatedly beating and raping her at gunpoint.
“She was tortured and she was raped,” Murray said.
Around 4 p.m., A SWAT officer shot and killed Salters. According to the lawsuit, the bullet that killed Salters also wounded the nurse he had raped. Officials have said Salters shot at officers, striking one in the vest, before he was killed.
The nurses’ lawyers said they never should have been harmed, because Salters should have remained shackled and guarded at all times while at the hospital.
“What we’re largely concerned with is this never should have happened. There never should have been that opportunity. There’s absolutely no reason why Mr. Salters was left unrestrained, how he was able to gain the officer’s gun. I’d like to know why the officer went in the other room and closed the door, and didn’t take any further action to subdue the gunman, and I think all of those questions need to be answered before we get to anything else,” Murray said.
According to the lawsuit, four days before Salters got free, sheriff’s officers were seen sleeping on the job. Earlier on the day Salters took hostages, the officer in charge of guarding him was seen sitting in a recliner and using his laptop computer, instead of watching Salters, the suit alleges.
The lawsuit also names the hospital’s security company as a defendant.
After the hostage situation ended, Kane County State’s Attoney Joe McMahon said there were “many questions to be answered about his incident.”
Both nurses names were being withheld to protect their privacy. In addition to financial compensation for the trauma they suffered, they are seeking changes enacted at the sheriff’s office.