ORANGEBURG, SC (WCSC) - Orangeburg County deputies have identified the suspect accused of opening fire Wednesday morning in a hospital ER and wounding a hospital employee.
Abrian Sabb is facing charges of attempted murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, court documents state.
Additional charges are possible, Orangburg County Sheriff’s spokesman Richard Walker said.
Sabb was being held at the Orangeburg County Detention Center and is expected to have a bond hearing at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday.
The victim of the shooting, who warrants identified as a Regional Medical Center nurse, underwent surgery and was listed in critical condition.
Sabb was a patient who entered the hospital at 7:29 a.m., but left on his own at 8:30 a.m., according to RMC President and CEO Charles Williams. The treating physician and a nurse did all they could to contact the patient.
That man then returned at 8:50 a.m. with a weapon and began shooting, they say.
“A Regional Medical Center employee and family member was shot and underwent surgery immediately,” Williams said. “At this time, this patient is in critical condition. Our prayers are with him, our prayers are with the family, our prayers are with all the members Regional Medical Center team and the Orangeburg and Calhoun community.”
Hospital officials say they cannot release the name of the victim because of privacy laws.
Williams praised the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office whose officers responded within five minutes, he said.
Orangeburg County Sheriff Leroy Ravenell said dispatch received a call about the shooting at 8:51 a.m. and he and two deputies arrived at the scene at 8:54 a.m.
“When we arrived, we proceeded to the emergency room where the suspect had surrendered himself to the security guard as we were entering,” Ravenell said.
Deputies say they found a black long gun sitting on the floor near the nurse’s station after Sabb was taken out of the hospital. The incident report states deputies were told the victim of the shooting was wounded in the abdomen and required surgery, preventing deputies from being able to speak with him.
The hospital went under a Code Silver lockdown as deputies conducted a room-by-room search to make sure there were no further threats.
Authorities would not say how many shots were fired because of the active investigation.
The hospital returned to normal operations as of 10:45 a.m. with the exception of the ER, which is set to reopen at 3 p.m., Williams said. Employee counselors and chaplains are on the site working with hospital employees, he said.
“We all pray for in the individual who is lying in a bed right now wanting to be healed," Williams said. "I think it’s important that we come together. That we work together to ensure that things like this didn’t happen and if they do happen, we have the response like we had today.”
Earlier in the day, Democratic Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter of Orangeburg said on the House floor Wednesday she was told by the Orangeburg County administrator that a nurse was hit in a random shooting by someone with mental problems. Williams would not comment on Cobb-Hunter’s statement.
According to an additional incident report from the sheriff’s office, deputies responded to a report of a man with a gun allegedly involving Sabb on Tuesday afternoon. The report states deputies were called to an Orangeburg home where a woman said Sabb ran with a firearm when he heard sirens approaching.
Deputies located Sabb after a search and also found a 9mm gun behind a dumpster, the report states. Sabb told deputies he was ok and nothing was wrong, and said he knows he has “an issue,” but did not want to talk about it, the report states.
He later told deputies he wanted to talk to a doctor instead of law enforcement because he feared being arrested.
The report states the woman who called deputies had earlier struggled with Sabb to take the handgun. Sabb’s father, whom deputies called from Sabb’s phone, told them he had been informed the gun went off in the home during the struggle, the report states.
When Sabb’s father arrived at the home, deputies turned the gun over to the father.
“It was very disturbing," said Vivian who is from Texas and came to the hospital to visit her sister who is a patient."We arrived here and saw all the cameras out here.”
As she arrived at the hospital, she learned that a gunman shot and injured an employee at the Regional Medical Center.
“It can happen anywhere. I’m just so sorry that it happened here, and my sister was upstairs fighting for her life," Vivian said.
Her sister was not injured in the shooting.
Other visitors also shared concerns as they had loved ones being cared for in the facility like Zenova Harris whose son was brought to the hospital Tuesday night.
“It was very scary because I brought my son here last night, and then to know that a couple of hours later they’re having an incident here. If we had waited we would have been here in the hospital going through this with an infant,” Harris said. “When you bring your children in public places, you only hope and pray that you make it there and then you go back home.”