20171204-bc-hospitalshoot-2

The Bakersfield Heart Hospital was the scene of an incident where a man shot his way through glass doors to gain entry. That man, identified by police as Brandon Clark of Big Sur, later left the inside of the hospital and was confronted by two Bakersfield police officers, who shot him.

Henry A. Barrios/The Californian

As she left work Dec. 1, a hospital employee saw someone she took for a transient sitting on a curb just outside the door, a dog next to him.

She also noticed the rifle the man was sitting on. 

“Oh don’t worry, this is to protect my mom," he told her.

She ran back inside and yelled there was a man with a gun. At first, she said, hospital staff didn't believe her. But soon there came the sound of gunshots, and screaming.

Those are among the details contained in 360 pages of redacted reports filed in court by Bakersfield police describing the terrifying moments when a gunman entered Bakersfield Heart Hospital.The incident left patients, visitors employees shaken, and the shooter in critical condition after police confronted him and opened fire in the parking lot.

No one else was injured. 

The accused gunman, Brandon Clark, 44, of Big Sur, has since recovered enough to plead not guilty to 16 felonies, including 10 counts of assault with a semi-automatic firearm on a person.

The motive remains unclear, but police said in court documents that methamphetamine was found in his system. He repeatedly said during the incident he was looking for his mother. She is a nurse at the hospital. 

The names of all witnesses interviewed were redacted in the reports. 

It was late afternoon when a security guard, upon hearing a man with a rifle was outside the hospital's south entrance, left the building to speak with the man, according to court documents. The guard said Clark told him he was waiting for his mother, who he said worked in the records department.

The guard told Clark he didn't know there was a records department. Clark then pulled a handgun from his green jacket and said, "If you don’t want to get hurt, I suggest you go inside," according to the documents.

Another hospital employee near the entrance opened the door for the guard, who hurried inside then shut the door as Clark lunged for it, the documents said. The guard immediately called police. 

Surveillance video shows Clark paced outside while holding the rifle before shooting out the glass door and entering the building, the documents said. He left a few minutes later.

But in those few minutes, a number of things happened. A "silver alert" — code for an armed person in the hospital — was announced over the intercom by hospital CEO Michelle Oxford. Employees sheltered in place, locking doors and turning off lights and computer screens as they hid.

A dietary aide hid inside the kitchen, according to the documents, and a nurse on the second floor stayed in her office until police arrived. Another nurse who heard the alert over the intercom went out a west door of the hospital to smoke a cigarette with his girlfriend. They heard gunshots, then fled to a location farther away. 

Another person scrambled to different areas telling everyone he saw to leave the building. 

At one point, Clark asked a hospital equipment tech for some kind of documentation, according to the documents. The two stood four feet apart as Clark held the rifle across his body, the weapon pointed to the side.

The tech took a step toward Clark, who then pointed the rifle at him, the documents said. The tech stopped, put his hands in the air and said he was only trying to help. 

Oxford also had an encounter with Clark. She stayed in her administration office after issuing the alert, but at that time still wasn't positive there was an armed suspect in the building, according to the documents.

She waited several minutes then opened the door and saw employees in the hallway, the documents said. She yelled to them to find a place to hide as the hospital was on lockdown.

More time passed, and Oxford decided to leave her office. She entered the hallway to find Clark, six feet away, heading toward her and raising a rifle, according to the documents.

She retreated into her office, the documents said, then fled with three staff members into an interior office where she sat with her back against the door as it didn't have a lock. Clark apparently didn't try to enter and Oxford said she never heard gunshots. 

Oxford told investigators the incident marked the first time she placed the hospital on lockdown. The hospital has periodic active shooter drills, she said, the last one occurring about two years ago.

A man who identified himself as a "biomed supervisor" said Clark first asked about his mother, but soon after started asking where his dog was, according to the documents. The supervisor told Clark the dog must still be outside, and Clark walked back to the door he had shot out and left the building.

Police were arriving, and Clark, apparently seeing officers enter the parking lot, seemed as though he was going to go back inside the hospital, the supervisor told investigators. To prevent that, the supervisor lied and told Clark police were coming through the hospital toward him. Clark appeared to panic and ran out of his line of sight, the supervisor said.

Two officers confronted Clark in the parking lot, firing a total of six rounds at him. He was wounded and taken into custody.

Clark's stepfather told investigators Clark has a history of drug use and believes he's infected by parasites. Clark, the stepfather said, also believes there are people in Big Sur involved in a drug cartel who are coming after him and his family.

He said Clark was moving from Big Sur to Mammoth.

The stepfather described Clark as a "tortured soul" and "mean person," but had never known him to be violent, according to the documents. He said maybe now Clark will get the help he needs. 

Both Clark's stepfather and his mother told investigators they were glad Clark was the only person injured. 

Clark, held on $1 million bail, is next due in court Friday. 

(1) comment

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