Dr. Lindley Dodson, Beloved Pediatrician and Mom of 3, Killed in Hostage Stand-off With Terminally Ill Doctor

Those who knew Dr. Lindley Dobson said she was killed doing what she loved the most.
Those who knew Dr. Lindley Dobson said she was killed doing what she loved the most.(Daniel Abernathy)

Dr. Bharat Narumanchi was armed when he arrived to the Children’s Medical Group in Austin, Texas on Tuesday afternoon. He shot Dr. Lindley Dodson during an hours-long hostage situation before turning the gun on himself.

A violent hostage situation at the Children’s Medical Group in Austin, Texas ended with the tragic killing of Dr. Lindley Dodson, a beloved pediatrician. The suspect, Dr. Bharat Narumanchi, who was terminally ill, allegedly walked into the offices armed with a pistol, a shot gun and two duffel bags, and killed Dodson before turning the gun on himself, taking his own life, authorities said.

Dodson, 43, leaves behind a husband and three young children.

“The idea that she was killed doing what she loved most in the world, taking care of children, is beyond comprehension,” Karen Vladeck, whose two children were among Dodson’s young patients, wrote on Twitter. “I just can’t believe she’s gone.”

Friends and patients alike left flowers, teddy bears and sweet messages in chalk by the offices Wednesday to honor Dodson, and donations on a GoFundMe made in support of the Children’s Medical Group has more than doubled its original goal of raising $20,000.

Dodson’s coworkers told the Austin American-Statesman that she wouldn’t have known her killer until he took her hostage Tuesday.

Narumanchi visited the clinic for the first time Friday, when he applied for a volunteer position, authorities said. He told them he was a pediatrician, had recently received a diagnosis for terminal cancer and wanted to volunteer at their offices for the last few months of his life as a form of giving back, staff said, according to the Statesman.

He returned to the office armed Tuesday afternoon, around closing time, and pointed a gun at staff at the front desk. “It took me a few minutes to realize he had a gun,” Victoria Ishaak, who handles billing, told the Statesman. “He pointed the gun at my co-worker and told her to go get the doctor … and then he points the gun at me and tells me to go lock the front door.”

She said she escaped in that moment and dialed 911. Other staff were later allowed to leave the building, with the exception of Dodson, authorities said.

Hostage negotiators were involved in the hours-long standoff and a SWAT team eventually entered the building. 

“We feel like his terminal cancer probably played a large part in whatever it was that occurred in his life and what was happening yesterday,” the Austin Police Department’s Lt. Jeff Greenwalt told reporters Wednesday, according to KXAN.

He said the investigation is on-going and Narumanchi’s family has been cooperating. “This is a shock to them, as it is to the rest of us,” he said.