Shooting near Le Bonheur raises safety concern for employees

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A former employee of Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital says she’s not surprised to hear an employee was shot near the hospital Friday night — she said she’s had many close calls herself leaving work.

That employee worked there several years and says the walk from the hospital to the parking lot was always terrifying. But after hearing about what happened to a current employee Friday, she says something has to change.

"It’s so dangerous over there, but it did not surprise me in the least,” said the former employee, who did not want to be identified.

Le Bonheur says it's now taking to steps to increase safety like adding more security officers and working with Memphis Police to increase officers' presence.

Friday night, police believe two men shot a woman in an attempted carjacking. She was a hospital employee and may have been parked at a lot on Leath Street before driving herself to her own hospital for treatment.

At last check, the woman shot is still in critical condition.

"It’s not safe, and if anybody came up they could be hiding and just run up on you when you’re attempting to pull out, which I’m assuming is what happened to this lady," the former employee said.

The parking lot she’s referring to is one-tenth of a mile from the hospital.

Crime reports for within one-tenth of a mile from the hospital show reports of two assaults, theft and breaking and entering just in the last month.

"Most of the time it’s just muggings, assaults, battery, you know stuff like that. But for somebody to get shot," she said. "Is this what it’s going to take to get them to realize they need to take their employees at face value when they say they don’t feel safe leaving their job?”

The former employee says she told management of her concerns many times and they responded by adding a security guard, but she says that’s not enough to keep employees safe.

"They don’t really leave that one spot, so if something happened to you out in the middle of the road you would not be helped basically, because unless it happened on actual hospital property they would not attempt to assist you with that.”

Le Bonheur responded in a statement saying that the hospital is working with police and other agencies to reduce violence in the area surrounding the hospital.

"This incident happened adjacent to our campus and is unacceptable. Violence is a community-wide issue and requires a community-wide approach to tackle this difficult problem.  We are working with the City of Memphis, Memphis Police, the Memphis Medical District Collaborative, and other agencies to address the larger issues in surrounding neighborhoods. It will take all of us working together to solve the issue of community violence.

"We remain committed to the safety of the children, families, and employees on our campus. We have taken a number of steps to increase the security of our campus including increasing the number of Le Bonheur security officers on site and working with the Memphis Police Department to increase their presence in the area."

Call police if you have any information that can help find the shooter.

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