Dothan Man Holds Up Healthcare Facility for Hours

By: Deborah Tuff Email
By: Deborah Tuff Email

Around 11AM, 19-year-old Jason Murphy parked his pick-up truck behind Primecare.

From there, police say he walked across a field and into the business, ordering patients to get out.

As a medical assistant and employee of Primecare, Jessica Hammond says it was surreal. "We couldn't even run out the back door really because we didn't really know if someone was with him or not. By the time the back door opened, he just started shooting and we heard, Pow! Pow! Pow! and we just ran. We just cut through the back door and ran," Hammond recalls.

Minutes later, Dothan police officers arrived on the scene and established a perimeter, closing down Westgate Parkway from Main Street to Montgomery Highway.

Shortly after that, the Houston County Sheriff's Department, the Alabama Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrived on the scene.

Curious bystanders were ordered to step back and diners from nearby restaurants crowded around to wait and see what would happen next.

One man’s wife was actually a patient. Thomas Graham says his wife, Frances, was given an ultimatum, to leave or to die. "I'm just very glad she's okay. I'm still concerned about her because she's an older lady and this really upset her," he says.

But what was the 19-year-old's motive? Police couldn't give a firm reason, but say it could have come from service Murphy had received at Primecare earlier Monday.

"We have talked with him. We do know he was upset by the service he was being provided and he had actually come to the center earlier and returned when he was armed," says Dothan Police Chief John Powell.

Dothan’s SWAT team was in place as negotiations continued with the armed suspect. At one point, he requested a soda, even made several threats.

But after a 2-and-a-half hour stand-off, he peacefully surrendered.

Police say Murphy had self-inflicted cuts on his arms, but the blood wasn't from any patients or healthcare facility employees.

Jessica Hammond’s mother says she's grateful. "I just praise the Lord that she's alright," she said.

No one was hurt in the standoff.

There was a patient who hid inside the building during the entire ordeal, but police say Murphy didn't know he was there.

Dothan Police say charges against Murphy are still pending.


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