Austin hostage tragedy – Doc Bharat Narumanchi ‘abused “hapless” wife’ in custody battle before killing pediatrician

A DOCTOR with terminal cancer who killed an Austin pediatrician in a murder-suicide on Tuesday had abused his ex-wife and called her “hapless,” according to court filings. 

Dr Bharat Narumanchi was charged with domestic abuse of his ex-wife in Hawaii in 2012, the Austin American-Statesman reported on Wednesday. 

Narumanchi said his ex-wife was a “hapless person from childhood” and claimed that she married him for US citizenship that “eluded her” when she lived in the country as a student, according to the newspaper. 

The case against Narumanchi, 43, was eventually dismissed. 

Narumanchi filed for divorce in 2012 and the couple had joint custody of their daughter, court records obtained by KXAN show. 

The cancer-stricken doctor allegedly took Dr Katherine Lindley Dodson, 43, hostage at Children’s Medical Group in Austin, Texas, and killed her and himself after a six-hour-long standoff.

Narumanchi, who had just “weeks” to live, reportedly stormed the medical center around 4.30pm with a pistol, a shotgun and two duffel bags. 

He took five people hostage, but four of them escaped or were let go before police arrived. 

Hostage negotiators spent hours trying to talk Narumanchi out of hurting anyone, but he later opened fire on Dodson and himself.

Narumanchi had applied for a volunteer position at the medical center the previous week and was rejected. 

Austin police Lt Jeff Greenwalt on Wednesday said, “We feel like his terminal cancer probably played a large part in whatever occurred in his life and what was happening yesterday.”

Narumanchi was linked to a home in north Austin where people with his last name reside, but he did not appear to own the property, according to KXAN.

He graduated from St George’s University School of Medicine in Grenada and worked at St Vincent’s Medical Center in New York City until he was fired in December 2009.

Narumanchi was granted a “physician and surgeon A” license in California in 2012, that was valid through August 2022.

He was also licensed in Connecticut, Florida, Oklahoma and Wisconsin, and practiced most recently at Providence Health Services in Southern California. 

Narmumanchi’s family said they had looked into hospice care for him. 

His parents in a statement to CBS Austin on Wednesday said they did not understand their son’s motives.

“The consequences of this action will live with us forever and we can only hope that faith, spiritual healing and God’s light will guide us through the darkness of this moment,” they stated.

Families whose children were under Dodson's care remembered her as an incredible doctor and person who exuded "positivity and love and happiness."

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