Authorities said Travis Frink, of Warwick, Rhode Island, was expected to be arraigned Wednesday on murder charges for the shooting at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon. Attorney General Gordon MacDonald identified the victim as Frink's 70-year-old mother, Pamela Ferriere, of Groton.
MacDonald said the 49-year-old Frink signed into the medical center's visitor center just after 1 p.m. Tuesday and went to the intensive care unit. Soon after, Lebanon police received a call about shots fired in in the intensive care unit.
"The facts gathered to this point reveal that the purpose of Mr. Frink's visit to the hospital today was to kill his mother," MacDonald said, adding that the crime scene was still being investigated and that more than one shot had been fired. "No other patients, visitors or staff were physically injured as a result of the incident today."
Frink was detained as he tried to leave the grounds of Dartmouth-Hitchcock, authorities said. He was in custody late Tuesday and couldn't be reached for comment. No possible motive for the shooting was released.
Rhode Island state police said the shooting suspect's car had Rhode Island plates so police in New Hampshire reached out to the state's Fusion Center, an information center under the command of the state police that also involves representatives from local, state and federal agencies. The center helped identify the suspect as a Rhode Island resident.
Authorities released very little information about Frink, although a 2013 story in the Providence Journal said that police suspected that alcohol played a role in the death of his wife and son, whose bodies were found in a running car in an apartment complex.
The shooting sparked panic at the hospital as employees and patients were evacuated into the parking lot. People were told to avoid the area around the hospital, and traffic was stopped on a route leading to the medical center. WCAX-TV reported that an employee said all workers received an email from the hospital about a "code silver," indicating a violent situation is unfolding, telling them to get out if possible and otherwise to shelter in place.
Susan Flynn, who was about to have surgery at the hospital, told WCAX she and her husband escaped to a patio soon after the shooting. "We were sitting in this patio area and two police came running out with guns and those shields that they wear and said, 'Run, run!' So we ran out of there as fast as we could and on to next location and kept moving and moving to different locations until they put us in a secure location," Flynn said.
Joanne Conroy, the president of Dartmouth-Hitchcock, praised her staff for its response and said everyone had taken part in several active-shooter trainings in the past. "Today was an incredibly stressful day and a tragic day for the affected family," she said. "We had the best outcome from this. Nobody else was hurt, and that is all we can ask for."
This story has been corrected to show the suspect's surname is Frink, not Frank.