New Somerset Hospital

Somerset Hospital. Photo: Rodw/Creative Commons.

Winde lauds ‘heroic’ nurse who convinced hospital shooter to drop gun

‘She calmed the shooter down and convinced him to hand over the firearm. Despite the personal risk to her, she stood up to help those around her.’

New Somerset Hospital

Somerset Hospital. Photo: Rodw/Creative Commons.

Three people, including two patients and a police constable, were shot and fatally wounded at New Somerset Hospital on Saturday night, 8 May. The Western Cape government revealed that a nurse de-escalated the situation in the wake of the shooting.


 According to the police, Constable Donay Phillips – who was attached to the Sea Point station – took a 35-year-old suspect to Somerset hospital in Cape Town for medical attention.

In the ward, a man grabbed Phillips’ firearm and shot him in the head before turning the gun on two nearby patients – aged 42 and 48 – who both died at the scene.

The 32-year-old constable succumbed to his injuries at 3:15 on Sunday.

The Western Cape government said the alleged shooter was ready to be discharged from hospital.

“Circumstances are unknown currently on how he managed to obtain a firearm but are currently being investigated. 

“We have also learned of a remarkable story of heroism yesterday evening that resulted in the perpetrator handing over his weapon,” said Western Cape Government Health and Wellness.

After the shooting, a healthcare worker who asked not to be named went into the ward and spoke to the suspect.

She reportedly calmed him down and convinced him to handover the firearm.

“Despite the personal risk to her, she stood up to help those around her. This heroism possibly saved many more lives,” said the provincial government.

The suspect was arrested and is currently in police custody. The investigation into the circumstances surrounding the shooting continues.

“I am shocked and deeply saddened by the loss of three residents during this horrific incident.  My deepest condolences go out to the families of the victims of this senseless act.

“I also want to join the Department in praising our healthcare workers who under the most trying time continued to serve the people of our province,” said Western Cape Premier Alan Winde.

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