Man attacks nurse at hospital

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By Chris Sardelli

A Lancaster man remains jailed after he was arrested for punching a nurse at Springs Memorial Hospital last month.

Dwight Thomas Elder Jr., 36, 2119 W. Meeting St., was arrested Feb. 18 on charges of aggravated assault and battery and possession of a knife during a violent crime, according to a Lancaster Police Department incident report.

Officers responded at 2:11 p.m. Feb. 18 to an assault at the hospital, 800 W. Meeting St., and were met at the emergency room entrance by a nurse holding a kitchen knife in a clear bag.

The nurse told officers the knife was taken from Elder by security guards only minutes before, the report said.

Police spoke with the victim, a 49-year-old nurse, who was being treated for her injury and had an ice pack on her left eye.

The woman said a triage nurse had called her about 2 p.m. and said Elder was in the waiting room wanting to speak with her.

She told officers Elder had been violent in the past, so she asked him to speak with her near the security desk, the report said.

She said Elder was upset with hospital staff about a previous visit and she was trying to explain hospital procedures to him when, without warning, he punched her in the left eye, the report said.

“(The victim) stated that she fell to the floor and the next thing she remembered was when the hospital staff and security helped her up,” an officer wrote in the report.

The victim had bruising and swelling to her left eye, as well as a cut under the eye, the report said.

Officers took statements from nine witnesses, including hospital staff, security personnel and several patients.

The witnesses reported seeing the nurse talking to Elder by the security desk before he hit her, the report said. When security guards stepped in between them, the report said Elder pulled a knife from his pants.

“Elder made several statements that he had ‘came to kill the (expletive), but decided to punch her instead,’” an officer wrote in the report.

The guards took the knife from Elder and then restrained him.

An officer reviewed surveillance footage from the hospital and saw Elder punch the nurse, the report said.

Elder’s bond was denied and he remains jailed at the Lancaster County Detention Center on Thursday, March  7, according to Lancaster Municipal Court records.

Elder is also named as a defendant in several more criminal charges dating back to 2002 in the 6th Judicial Circuit, which covers Lancaster County, per the S.C. Judicial Department website. Those charges, arrest dates and sentencing include:

– Malicious injury to property, January 2002; found guilty and sentenced to 30 days in jail or $500 

– Disturbing the peace, February 2002; found guilty and sentenced to 30 days in jail 

– Malicious injury to property and assault and battery, December 2004; found guilty and sentenced to at least 30 days in jail 

– First-degree assault and battery, November 2012; sentenced to time served


Contact reporter Chris Sardelli at (803) 416-8416