A Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy shot 46-year-old, Ricky Lynn Hall, on the fifth floor or Ben Taub Hospital Thursday morning around 10 a.m.
The deputy was working an overtime program shift. His assignment was to guard the entire fifth floor; he was not assigned specifically to guard Hall.
Hall, a current Harris County inmate, was getting medical treatment when he took a medical student hostage with a folded piece of metal.
KHOU 11 News questioned why Hall was left unrestrained and unsupervised in his hospital room.
First, we called Harris Health System, the community-owned healthcare system that operates Ben Taub, to find out who’s in charge of securing hospitalized inmates.
A spokesperson for the company says security is the responsibility of the agency that brings the inmate to the hospital.
The Harris County Sheriff’s office brought Ricky Lynn Hall to Ben Taub Hospital on October 1, 2016.
A deeper search into Hall’s background revealed charges for assault, robbery, burglary, forgery and DWI.
Hours after the shooting, an HPD spokesperson told KHOU 11 News the inmate, who has a lengthy criminal background, was left unrestrained and alone in his room. The deputy who shot him was not specifically assigned to guard Hall.
Next, we questioned if Hall was separated from general hospital patients. A hospital spokesperson confirmed, the hospital does not maintain a separate area for inmates.
Finally, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office fulfilled our Friday request for the office’s policy for hospital escorts. You can see the entire policy below.
The policy states: Handcuffs and leg shackles shall be used unless a supervisor or medical reasons dictate otherwise. If restraints are required to be removed for treatment, extreme caution should be exercised while the inmate is unrestrained.
Harris County Sheriff, Ron Hickman, was unavailable, Friday, to elaborate on what circumstances Hall was left alone and unrestrained before taking a female medical student hostage, Thursday.