Family of Chicago Hospital Shooting Victim Files Suit Against Security Company, Hospital
The lawsuit argues that Mercy Hospital and SDI Security did not follow their own protocols by failing to issue alerts or initiating a lockdown of the building.
- By Haley Samsel
- Dec 10, 2019
A security company and hospital in Chicago are facing a wrongful death lawsuit from the family of a woman killed in a 2018 shooting.
The 12-count suit accuses Mercy Hospital, SDI Security Inc and Trinity Health Inc of negligence that would have saved the life of Dayna Less, a pharmacy resident, who was killed when she stepped out of a hospital elevator on Nov. 19, 2018. The suit also names the estate of the shooter, who was killed during a gun battle with police.
Two others died during the shooting: emergency room doctor Tamara O’Neal, who was the ex-fiancee of the gunman, and Chicago Police Officer Samuel Jimenez, who was killed in the shootout shootout.
Less’ family claims that the hospital and the security company did not follow their own protocols while responding to the shooting. SDI and Mercy failed to issue a “Code Silver” alert for an active shooter that would have led to a lockdown of the building, The Chicago Sun-Times reported.
That alert would have warned Less and her colleagues about the threat, the lawsuit contends, and prevented the gunman from re-entering the hospital after he shot O’Neal in the parking lot.
In addition, the suit accuses hospital and security officials of not confronting the gunman between the time he arrived in the hospital lobby at 1:45 p.m. and when he confronted O’Neal in the parking lot at 3:12 p.m.
“Mercy and SDI literally watched this armed and dangerous man hunt down and kill Dr. O’Neal, then shoot at the police when they arrived, and then stop and reload his weapon. Yet they did nothing,” Matthew Piers, an attorney for the Less family, told the Sun-Times. “Amazingly, they continued to do nothing as [the gunman] walked back into the still unlocked hospital building.”
In response to the suit, Mercy Hospital officials extended their sympathy to the Less family but said they do not comment on pending litigation. SDI Security filed a contribution lawsuit last month arguing that the city of Chicago and the police departments had failed to confront the shooter or prevent him from re-entering the hospital. This makes them partially liable for any damages related to the tragedy, according to SDI.
The company denied any liability for injuries caused by the shooting but said the city should have to contribute to payment if a judgement is rendered against SDI, according to the Sun-Times.
Haley Samsel is an Associate Content Editor for the Infrastructure Solutions Group at 1105 Media.