An Orangeburg man is accused of opening fire in the emergency department of the Regional Medical Center on Wednesday morning. A hospital employee is in critical condition.
Abrian Dayquan Sabb, 23, of 529 Casa Court, is facing one count each of attempted murder and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.
The incident occurred at 8:45 a.m. when a man opened fire in the treatment area of the emergency department, injuring an employee, RMC President and CEO Charles E. Williams said during a press conference on Wednesday.
The employee suffered a gunshot wound to his abdomen, according to an Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office incident report.
A warrant states that the wound required immediate surgery.
Williams said the suspect, “presented himself to the hospital at 7:29 a.m. and eloped from the emergency department at approximately 8:30 a.m.”
“The treating physician and nurse did all they could do to contact the patient, but were unable to reach the patient,” Williams said.
He said the suspect “left on his own and we did all we could to keep him. He left and came back.”
When the suspect returned, he had a long gun with him, according to a sheriff’s office incident report.
A warrant accuses Sabb of firing “multiple shots,” injuring a male employee.
Within moments, RMC security took Sabb into custody.
Williams said the suspect surrendered to authorities.
He said staff called the sheriff’s office immediately and it responded within minutes.
Orangeburg County Sheriff Leroy Ravenell said the 911 call came in at 8:51 a.m. Three minutes later, he, Deputy Trevor Clinton and Sgt. Keith Parks arrived.
Hospital staff immediately issued a “Code Silver,” indicating there was an active shooter and then locked down the facility.
By 10:45 a.m., most operations had resumed, but the emergency department remained closed to new patients until 3 p.m.
Patients who were receiving treatment in the emergency department continued to receive care while authorities investigated the crime scene and the hospital remained on lockdown.
Williams said new patients needing emergency care were redirected to the recently opened Bamberg-Barnwell Emergency Medical Center in Bamberg County while Orangeburg’s emergency department was closed.
“The security guard that was here did a great job,” Ravenell said at Wednesday’s press conference, which was held at RMC.
“Also a great job was done by the person who called 911. They stayed on the phone with dispatchers and gave us all of the information we needed to know that there was an active shooter and that he was still in the building,” Ravenell added.
He said that deputies made sure that everyone was secure and safe at the hospital by conducting a room-to-room search.
RMC’s security is being reviewed.
“We are putting steps in place where we will not only ensure that it is safe and promoting an environment that continues to be safe, but we are going to be putting increased steps,” Williams said.
The hospital’s security detail has internal unarmed security guards supplemented with armed personnel from outside agencies.
“That’s not to say that won’t be changing. That is under assessment,” Williams said.
Counselors and chaplains were made available to the staff in the wake of the incident.
“I think what is important is that we all pray for the individual who is lying in a bed right now wanting to be healed,” Williams said. “I think it’s important that we all come together, that we work together to ensure things like this don’t happen and if they do happen that we have the response like we did today.”
Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, D-Orangeburg, said on Wednesday morning that the Orangeburg County administrator told her Sabb suffered from mental health problems.
According to an incident report, deputies first encountered Sabb just before 2 p.m. Tuesday, around 17 hours before he arrived at RMC.
His girlfriend called to report that Sabb had a firearm at his Casa Court home and she’d tried to get the gun from him.
Sabb’s girlfriend told deputies that Sabb left the home prior to deputies’ arrival and that he had the gun with him.
Deputies found a black and silver 9mm handgun in a nearby dumpster and located Sabb near the wood line.
According to the incident report, Sabb initially told deputies that he was OK and that nothing was wrong.
When he walked with deputies back home, he told them that he knows he has “an issue” but didn’t want to talk about it at the time, the report said.
Sabb’s girlfriend told deputies that he told her he felt like someone was after him. She tried to remove the firearm from his hand.
She said Sabb’s finger was on the trigger and that it accidentally discharged when she attempted to get the gun from him, the report said. She said it was “totally accidental” and she knew that he would not harm her or himself.
“While he was sitting at the residence, he stated that he wants to talk with the doctor instead of law enforcement because he fears he may get arrested,” the incident report states.
A deputy spoke with Sabb’s father, who stated that he was already on the way to his son’s house because of the situation.
Sabb agreed to go with his parents.
His father took possession of the firearm for safekeeping, the report said.