MUNSTER, Ind. — A patient at an Indiana hospital had a guard in a chokehold early Tuesday morning when a second guard fired his gun at them, officials say, fatally wounding both.
According to official reports, 59-year-old retired Lake County sheriff’s officer Ryan Askew was working security with another retired officer at Community Hospital in Munster when they responded to reports of a psychiatric patient assaulting a nurse around 1 a.m. Tuesday.
When the security guards arrived on the scene and attempted to subdue the 22-year-old patient, Lake County prosecutors say they began to struggle.
Prosecutors said the patient, identified by the Lake County coroner as 22-year-old Jamal Williams of Lansing, placed Askew in a chokehold before lifting him off the ground and striking him repeatedly with his free hand.
According to prosecutors, witnesses said Askew began to go in and out of consciousness.
Initial reports by the Northwest Indiana Times and cited by WGN News said that Williams got a hold of the guard’s gun and fired shots.
However, according to the police statement, it was the second security guard who fired two shots. Williams was struck in the face. Askew was struck in the arm.
Doctors and nurses attempted to attend to Askew, but prosecutors said the bullet traveled into his chest. Askew died a short time later.
Askew had more than 20 years of service with Lake County. He leaves behind a wife and children.
Precious Hammock is a nurse and a clinical liaison at Munster Community Hospital.
“To come in and come into this unfortunate news, I’m literally shaking right now,” she said.
Hammock said Askew was a positive person who was always willing to help
“(He was) always smiling,” she said. “Just an amazing guy. Anytime I needed help coming in, had bags or anything, he’d be the first one come to the door.”
Later in the morning, hospital staff was joined sheriff’s deputies and officers in silence as Askew’s flag-draped body was brought out to the coroner’s van. Deputies led a procession to the coroner’s office in Crown Point and saluted Askew.