Attack on NC hospital workers leaves man with attempted murder charges, officials say

·2 min read
Fernando Salazar/The Wichita Eagle

Two people were attacked while working at a North Carolina hospital, officials said.

Novant Health in a statement said its employees were injured on the job Tuesday, Jan. 18. They were reportedly assaulted inside the emergency department of New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington.

“Privacy laws prevent us from identifying individuals involved,” Novant Health told McClatchy News in an emailed statement.

But now, multiple news outlets report 24-year-old Rothwell Jacob Simmons is facing attempted murder charges in the case. The reports didn’t name an attorney for him.

In warrants obtained by WECT, officials said Simmons carried out a “premeditated” choking attack during which he tried to snap a woman’s neck. He is accused of throwing another person to the ground and rendering her unconscious.

Simmons was arrested Jan. 18 and charged with two counts each of attempted first-degree murder and assault by strangulation, New Hanover County records show. He later appeared in court and received a $7.5 million bond, the StarNews reported.

When Simmons was asked if he was interested in hiring a lawyer, he told a judge: “I’m not sure man, I don’t know what the hell got into me,” according to WECT.

Laws are in place that aim to protect health care workers, who are facing a surge of coronavirus-related hospitalizations, news outlets reported.

“There is emotions that run high there at times, and with people who are in crisis, and when that occurs these people really put their lives on the line, and we should remember that, and it’s for that reason that when injury befalls them, we take it very seriously,” said Ben David, the district attorney for New Hanover County, according to WWAY.

The hospital’s police force was investigating as of Jan. 19, officials told news outlets.

The New Hanover County clerk of court’s office didn’t immediately respond to McClatchy News’ request for additional information on Jan. 20.

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