Henrico residents question why it took police over two hours to send alert about escaped inmate

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Posted at 6:38 PM, Aug 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-15 21:38:13-04

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- When Erin Nord took her nine-year-old daughter on a walk Saturday morning in the Westwood neighborhood in Henrico County, she noticed some low flying helicopters. 

"My spidey sense was going off because they were so low," Nord said

But, minutes later at 8:37 a.m., Nord received a surprising text from Henrico County. It read: "police are looking for a Black male 5'8, 180 pounds last seen near St. Mary's Hospital."

The text went on to say that the man was last seen in a hospital gown, and anyone who saw him should shelter in place.

Nord did not really know what to make of the text because "the message didn't say to not leave your home." But, since Westwood is right across from St. Mary's Hospital, she rushed home.

Nord later learned the man cited in the text was an inmate from the Virginia Department of Corrections who escaped while receiving medical treatment at the hospital.

"My daughter and I could easily have encountered this person. It really shook up me, it shook up my daughter," Nord said.

The Virginia DOC said Naseem Roulack left the hospital at around 5:50 a.m. despite being under the supervision of two security officers.

However, Henrico County did not send a reverse 911 alert to nearby residents until nearly three hours later. 

"That was more than two hours after this violent criminal had escaped from the hospital," Nord said.  "We certainly would not have left our home had we known this person was on the run."

CBS6 asked Henrico Police when they requested the alert be sent, and a spokesperson said at around 8:00 that morning.

For the second day in a row, CBS 6 asked why they waited for over two hours to request the alert, but Henrico Police did not answer the question.

"I would really like to understand from the county and the city's perspective what the protocol is moving forward, how they are re-evaluating that after this situation where something could have gone very, very wrong," Nord said.

Since St. Mary's Hospital sits right next to the city of Richmond, CBS 6 also asked Richmond Police if they sent out an alert to nearby residents, and at what time.

They said they hoped to get back to us with an answer on Wednesday.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email to send a tip. If you see breaking news, and can do so safely, shoot a photo or video and send it to CBS 6. You can also upload photos to our Facebook page or email from your phone.

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