Prineville hospital locked down over caller's threats

Police contact caller, find him unarmed; may be charged

PRINEVILLE, Ore. - Prineville's Pioneer Memorial Hospital was locked down for several hours and remained under added security Thursday after a threatening caller who mentioned a gun said he might be visiting the facility, police and hospital officials said.

Hospital officials locked down the facility around 10:30 a.m. in response to a security threat, said St. Charles Health System spokeswoman Lisa Goodman.

The modified lockdown in place at Pioneer Memorial Hospital was lifted by Friday morning, and operations were back to normal, she said.

Goodman said a former patient called St. Charles-Bend Wednesday night and made threatening comments after being seen in the Emergency Department.

St. Charles officials and Bend police followed up with a phone call to the patient Thursday morning, during which he indicated he would seek care at PMH, Goodman said.

"Based on that conversation, the health system felt it was necessary to secure the Prineville facility to ensure the safety of patients and caregivers," a hospital statement said..

Prineville police Capt. Michael Boyd said police were contacted around 9:45 a.m. after "the hospital received information that a subject had made threats, including statements of a firearm."

"The subject apparently was upset over treatment issues," Boyd said.

"The hospital opted to begin a lockdown as a precaution," Boyd said. "We assisted by posting an officer at the hospital until hospital security arrived."

Boyd said police located the man around 12:15 p.m., and that he was not armed. A case was taken and will be submitted to the Deschutes County District Attorney's Office for a decision on whether any charges will be filed.

After police contacted the man, the hospital was returning to business as usual Thursday afternoon, but Goodman said they would continue to limit access to the building, and two security officers were on site as an added security measure.

Goodman said patients with appointments could return to the hospital and clinic.

All entrances but the Emergency Department had been locked down, so patients with medical emergencies could be seen there.

In a statement late Thursday morning, the hospital had said, "Patients with non-life threatening medical issues are being asked to stay away from the hospital until further notice."

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