Parents of terminally ill doctor who killed pediatrician apologize

The parents of the terminally ill killer doctor who murdered a pediatrician mother-of-three on Tuesday then took his own life have apologized to her family and say they do not know why he did it.

Dr. Bhurat Narumanchi, 43, killed Dr. Katherine Lindley Dodson, also 43, on Tuesday night at Children’s Medical Group in Austin, Texas

They had never met before but Narumanchi – who had been given weeks to live- had applied for a volunteering position at the practice a week earlier and was turned down. 

On Tuesday, he held Dodson and four others hostage then shot her and killed himself. The others escaped or were let go. 

In a statement on Thursday, his parents offered their condolences to her husband and their three children, and said they had no explanation for his actions.

‘We, the parents of Dr. Bharat Kumar Narumanchi, wish to extend our most sincere condolences and most fervent prayers to the family, friends and colleagues of Dr. Lindley Dodson. 

‘We share your grief for a life so senselessly cut short. 

Dr. Katherine Lindley Dodson, pictured with her husband Drew and their three young children, was murdered at her office on Tuesday night

‘We don’t understand our son’s motives or actions but feel this time is best spent remembering Dr. Dodson and her contributions to this world. We are cooperating with the investigators as they seek to make sense of this tragedy.

‘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 told CBS Austin.

Dr. Narumanchi had a daughter of his own but is not thought to have been married.

On Tuesday, Narumanchi showed up at the clinic with a pistol, a shotgun and two duffel bags at 4.30pm and took Dodson hostage along with four other employees.

Bhurat Narumanchi had terminal cancer and had been given weeks to live. He killed Dodson - who he'd never met before - then shot himself

Bhurat Narumanchi had terminal cancer and had been given weeks to live. He killed Dodson – who he’d never met before – then shot himself

The four others either escaped or were let go by Narumanchi, but he kept Dodson behind.

A hostage negotiator pleaded with Narumanchi to answer his phone and communicate with them.

‘I want to help you work through this. You have saved a lot of lives,’ the negotiator said.

‘I cannot guarantee your safety unless you comply. I am letting you know, doctor, there is a way to resolve this.

‘I need your help to fix the situation. That starts with you answering the phone.’

At around 10pm, police sent in a SWAT robot which detected the two bodies.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Austin police Lt Jeff Greenwalt said authorities did not know why he targeted the medical center.

‘We feel like his terminal cancer probably played a large part in whatever occurred in his life and what was happening yesterday,’ Greenwalt said.

Narumanchi completed his pediatric residency training at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, the Austin American Statesman reported.

He had attended St George’s University School of Medicine in Grenada.

Staff at the Children's Medical Group gathered to comfort each other on Wednesday

Staff at the Children’s Medical Group gathered to comfort each other on Wednesday

Dodson's colleagues and patients paid tribute to her on Wednesday

Dodson’s colleagues and patients paid tribute to her on Wednesday

Police are trying to work out whether Dodson was targeted: she did not seem to know her killer

Police are trying to work out whether Dodson was targeted: she did not seem to know her killer

In 2012, Narumanchi was charged with domestic abuse in Hawaii, during a contentious divorce battle, but the case was later dismissed, court records show.

It was unclear why he was in Texas, although the paper said he appeared to have relatives in the area.  

On Wednesday a vigil was held at her clinic, and staff could be seen in tears, comforting each other.

Her patients and family paid tribute to a warm and loving doctor.

Her family said in a statement on Wednesday that they ‘are beyond devastated at the tragic, sudden and senseless loss of our beloved Lindley.’

They added: ‘As a dedicated mom, wife, daughter, friend and pediatrician, she radiated light, love and joy in everything she did and with everyone she touched.

She developed immediate rapport with her patients and had the unique ability to make you feel like the only person in the room.

Dodson was described by friends as a talented doctor and loving mother-of-three

Dodson was described by friends as a talented doctor and loving mother-of-three

‘We are so grateful for the outpouring of love and concern but due to the ongoing nature of this investigation and our request for privacy during this awful time, we will have no further comment.’

Dodson’s patients remembered her as kind, caring and thoughtful.

Daniel Abernathy, a web developer, shared a photo of his son being treated by Dodson.

‘Last night our boys’ pediatrician was killed by a gunman in her office,’ he said.

‘We love Dr. Dodson and how well she took care of the boys. This thread is a great tribute to how loving and dedicated she was to her patients. Please pray for her family and all the staff at CMG.’

Leslie Chunta, who lives in Austin and had two children under Dodson’s care, told Fox News how she followed up with the children, months after their appointment.

‘On New Year’s Eve day, she gave me a call and mentioned that she had done some additional training and thought of my son, and she went out of her way to call me and ask me how my son is doing, and ask me how I was doing,’ she said.

‘We were really struggling so it was kind of a breath of fresh air to hear from her. It started us on a path to help get my son some resources to help make his life better, make our lives better as a family.

‘Without her outreach, without her support, my son wouldn’t have had an advocate.’

Chunta said Dodson always radiated ‘positivity and love and happiness.’

‘My son loves to go see her. Some of the things that he’s been working on, he was really excited to go tell her,’ Chunta said.

‘I don’t know how I’m going to tell my son that we’re not going to be able to see her.’

Laura Whittaker, whose son had been visiting her for a year, said that from the beginning she was encouraging and positive.

‘Not only did she make us feel like everything was going to be ok, but she was the kind of doctor who made you feel like she was really in it with you,’ she said.

‘It’s been interesting to see how he reacts and develops with different people over time.

‘We saw her two weeks ago for his 12-month checkup, and I had the sense that he remembered her even just from seeing her every few months as an infant.’

Karen Vladeck, whose two children were seen by the pediatrician, tweeted that Dodson ‘made you feel like your child’s illness was the only one that mattered in that moment, even though you knew there was a line of other kids and parents waiting anxiously to see her.’

She added: ‘She lived just around the corner from us and I would often see her running around taking her 3 children to various activities or the park.

‘Even though she had 100s of patients, she would always ask ‘How is Syd’s ear? How is Maddie feeling after that vaccine?”

She is survived by her three children and her husband.

Dodson received her BA in chemistry from Washington & Lee University in 1999, then received her Doctor of Medicine from Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans in 2003, according to her LinkedIn.

After graduating, she worked as a pediatric resident at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, as a medical school instructor at Harvard Medical School, and as an urgent care physician at Boston Children’s Hospital.

She worked as a pediatric hospitalist for a decade at Seton Health Care Family, in Texas, which is part of Dell Children’s Medical Center.

‘Yesterday evening we received the tragic news that one of our former Dell Children’s hospitalists, Dr. Lindley Dodson, was killed last night,’ a spokesman said. 

‘We are shocked and saddened by this news, and our thoughts and prayers are with Dr. Dodson’s family, friends and colleagues.

‘Dr. Dodson was a hard-working and compassionate provider who will be greatly missed.’

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