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After hospital shooting, some VCU staff raise concerns about 'lack of security' at medical center

VCU Medical Center
Posted at 6:29 PM, May 10, 2023

RICHMOND, Va. -- After police said a man was shot and killed inside a Downtown Richmond VCU hospital building, several people reached out to the CBS 6 Problem Solvers with concerns about what they considered a lack of security at VCU Medical Center.

According to a joint investigation between Richmond Police and VCU Police, 24-year-old Christopher Boisseau shot his co-worker, 25-year-old Ty'Quan White, in a stairwell of the North Hospital at VCU Medical Center.

 North Hospital at VCU Medical Center
North Hospital at VCU Medical Center

Investigators said the shooting happened just after midnight on Wednesday following a conflict between White and Boisseau.

White received treatment, but he died as a result of his injury, according to police.

Police charged Boisseau with maliciously shooting someone in a building and added that more charges are pending.

Christopher Boisseau
Christopher Boisseau

“The hospital is supposed to be a safe haven," said Angela Shorter Arrington, who works near the hospital. “You’re supposed to go there when you’re sick. You go get help, not a shooting gallery, and it doesn't make no sense.”

VCU Police Chief John Venuti said there was no risk to patients or the greater community during the incident and that all safety protocols were properly followed.

“We obviously do active shooter preparation, have lockdown procedures for the divisions and units, obviously a significant impact to operations. The safety of our staff and patients is paramount," Venuti said.

VCU Police Chief John Venuti
VCU Police Chief John Venuti

However, following the shooting, multiple people, including VCU staff and family of former patients who wished to remain anonymous, told CBS 6 they felt security measures across the VCU medical campus were lacking.

For example, they feel there's not enough armed security guards, a majority of hospital buildings do not have metal detectors, patients and visitors have easy access to different floors, and that there is an inconsistent application of safety measures campus wide.

One person told CBS 6 that the emergency hospital has the tightest security and should be a model for other campus buildings.

CBS 6 took those concerns to VCU Health. Spokesperson Danielle Pierce said VCU Health employs more than 100 full-time security staff members, but they are not armed. She said VCU Police, who are armed, monitor the medical campus 24/7.

When asked which buildings contain metal detectors and if employees and visitors are required to go through them, Pierce only answered, "There are some locations within VCU Health facilities where weapons detection is currently in use."

“If that's what it takes to be safe, make sure that the people that come there and the people that work there are safe, yes do metal detectors," said Arrington when asked if she supported metal detectors at the hospital.

Shooting inside North Hospital at VCU Medical Center
Shooting inside North Hospital at VCU Medical Center

Pierce added that active shooter training is offered to staff during new team member orientation and that VCU Health conducted its last active shooter drill in June 2022.

When asked for VCU's response to those who feel security measures are inadequate, Pierce said, “VCU Health team members’ safety is paramount to the organization. VCU Health offers multiple opportunities for team members to provide feedback to leadership. VCU Police and emergency management teams respond and collaborate with team members to make sure the environment is safe for patients, staff and visitors."

VCU Medical Center
VCU Medical Center

Venuti said investigators will now begin work to communicate with VCU staff about what happened and the level of police response.

"We're in the process of locating and identifying people who may have witnessed this and providing counseling resources, but obviously, it's a very, very traumatic event," Venuti said.

He said he believes this is the first time a shooting has ever occurred within the walls of a VCU hospital.

Depend on CBS 6 News and WTVR.com for in-depth coverage of this important local story. Anyone with more information can email newstips@wtvr.com to send a tip.

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