AUSTIN, Texas - Flowers lined the entrance and the sign along the Children’s Medical Group in Central Austin on Wednesday, honoring the life of Dr. Katherine Lindley Dodson.
"She is the most honorable, loving, giving human being," said family friend Kristin Gish.
Dr. Dodson was a mentor for Brandi Loomis, who said she was a "shining light." "To know that her life was cut short in such a horrible manner is devastating for us," she said.
She and a group of a dozen or so nurses came to lay flowers Wednesday afternoon. "Being here is part of our grieving process and part of our healing process," she said.
For those who knew her, they say she had a smile that could light up a room, and a heart full of joy. "Dr. Dodson was the best of the best," Loomis said.
That’s why they were surprised by the outcome of Tuesday’s events. "We all thought that the outcome would be different," said Gish. "Lindley is such a wonderful, persuasive person that we thought it wouldn’t have ended this way."
The family of Dr. Dodson issued the following statement:
"We are beyond devastated at the tragic, sudden and senseless loss of our beloved Lindley. As a dedicated mom, wife, daughter, friend and pediatrician, she radiated light, love and joy in everything she did and with everyone she touched. She developed immediate rapport with her patients and had the unique ability to make you feel like the only person in the room. She brightened our lives and lifted us up with her laughter, which was like magic. We are all better because of her. Our only comfort is knowing she is now with Jesus and all the heavenly saints who are undoubtedly already looking forward to her first costume party. We are so grateful for the outpouring of love and concern but due to the ongoing nature of this investigation and our request for privacy during this awful time, we will have no further comment."
Dell Children's released this following statement:
"Yesterday evening we received the tragic news that one of our former Dell Children's hospitalists, Dr. Lindley Dodson, was killed last night. We are shocked and saddened by this news, and our thoughts and prayers are with Dr. Dodson’s family, friends and colleagues. Dr. Dodson worked for Dell Children's for over 10 years and remained on Medical Staff at Dell Children's when she left for private practice in 2017. Dr. Dodson was a hard-working and compassionate provider who will be greatly missed."
On Tuesday afternoon, the suspect, Dr. Bharat Narumanchi, walked into the office, police said the weapon in his hand. Five were working that day, all adults. No children were in the clinic. Police said immediately the five, including Dr. Dodson, were taken as hostages and told to tie themselves up.
"Unfortunately one of the employees of the doctor's office, Dr. Katherine Lindley Dodson, a 43-year-old female, was not able to escape and was taken hostage by the suspect," said Lt. Greenwalt with the Austin Police Department.
Someone close with Dr. Dodson told FOX 7 Austin she was unable to communicate with friends and family once the hostage situation began, except for an email sent to her husband that said something along the lines of "help." They couldn’t say exactly when that message was sent but said it was early in the evening.
Police are investigating what brought Dr. Narumanchi into the office on Tuesday. "We are trying to figure out what his involvement is at this particular doctor's office was," said Lt. Greenwalt.
APD added that a few weeks prior he went into the pediatrician's office and asked for a volunteer position. However, he was denied.
During the standoff, SWAT and hostage negotiators tried for several hours to make contact, but after no luck decided to force entry into the building. When doing so they found both Dr. Dodson and Dr. Narumanchi dead inside from apparent gunshot wounds. "The victim, Dr. Dodson, died at the hands of the suspect," Lt. Greenwalt said.
Friends said that even in her final moments they know Dr. Dodson was a true hero.
"I think what she did in those walls is no surprise to me," said Loomis. "Putting other people before herself, I think as a physician you are ready to sacrifice you time and talents for people and that’s what she did. She is a true hero."
They also say that she will always be remembered by this community. "She just had a joy of life and she will be surely missed," Gish said.