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Pediatrician Killed By Doctor In Central Austin Hostage Situation, Police Say

Patients' families and community members placed flowers outside the medical practice to memorialize Dodson.
Julia Reihs
Patients' families and community members placed flowers outside Children's Medical Group in memory of Dr. Katherine Lindley Dodson, who was killed during a six-hour hostage situation Tuesday night.

The Austin Police Department has identified two people found dead inside a pediatric doctor’s office last night following a six-hour hostage situation in Central Austin. Police say it appears Dr. Bharat Narumanchi, 43, shot Dr. Katherine Lindley Dodson, 43, a pediatrician at Children's Medical Group, before shooting himself.

Police responded to a disturbance call at Children's Medical Group on West 35th Street on Tuesday afternoon. The caller reported a man entered the building with a gun and was holding five employees hostage. No patients or children were inside the building.

Four hostages were either able to escape or were released, except Dodson. APD interviewed the hostages and identified the suspect as Narumanchi. Witnesses said Narumanchi was reportedly carrying a pistol, what looked like a shotgun and two duffel bags.

Katie Cukerbaum lays flowers and a card on a memorial outside the Children's Medical Group facility, honoring the life of Dr. Katherine Lindley Dodson, who was shot during a six-hour hostage situation the night before. "It's just a tragedy," said Cukerbaum, whose one-and-a-half-year-old son was a patient of Dr. Dodson.
Julia Reihs
Katie Cukerbaum lays flowers and a card on a memorial outside Children's Medical Group to honor Dodson. "It's just a tragedy," said Cukerbaum, whose 1-and-a-half-year-old son was a patient of Dodson's.

Narumanchi had been in the doctor’s office about a week ago to apply for a volunteer position, which he did not get. APD said he was a pediatrician who had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer and was given weeks to live.

The situation is being investigated as a murder-suicide, APD Lt. Jeff Greenwalt said during a media briefing Wednesday morning.

"We feel like his terminal cancer probably played a large part in whatever it was that occurred in his life and what was happening yesterday," Greenwalt said. "We don't know exactly why he decided to take these actions or target this particular business."

Austin police officials say Narumanchi had no other known contact with Dodson.

After hostage negotiators made several attempts to try to make contact with Narumanchi, a SWAT team entered the building and found both Narumanchi and Dodson dead.

APD is asking anyone with information to contact its tip line: 512-974-TIPS.

This is Austin's fourth homicide of 2021.

Members of the community have been expressing their grief over Dodson's death on Twitter.

"Dr. Dodson was a light. An absolute shining light," one user wrote. "She walked into the exam room with a broad but sympathetic smile on her face every time you were there."

Dodson was also an assistant professorin the Department of Pediatrics at Dell Medical School. She was "a consummate advocate for children, a beloved pediatrician and a dear friend to many," the school said on Twitter.

Dodson, a mother of three, was a long-time parent at Casis Elementary School, according to the Austin Independent School District.

She was also an "esteemed pediatrician for many of our families," the district wrote in a letter to parents notifying them of her death.

AISD says it is providing extra support from school counselors throughout the district. Families can contact their school for more information.

This story has been updated.

Dani Matias is a former producer and fill-in host for KUT's Morning Edition show.