A mother of a patient at a suburban Phoenix children’s hospital took her son’s life before taking her own, police said.
Nurses at Cardon Children’s Medical Center in Mesa found the woman and her 5-year-old child dead inside the child’s room while conducting a 2 a.m. bed check Saturday, Mesa police spokesman Steve Berry said:
“Every two hours they do a check,” Berry said. “They were seen alive and fine at midnight and then found at 2 a.m.”
The mother had a fatal gunshot wound, Berry said. He could not describe how the child died.
Upon finding the pair, the nurses immediately called for trauma units as well as security. An off-duty police officer was already working at the hospital, according to authorities.
Investigators believe the mother killed the child and then herself. Nobody at the hospital recalls hearing any gunshots or suspicious activity, Berry said. The boy was in a private room.
Berry told KPHO-TV that the woman was 27-year-old Tammy Griffith, and the 5-year-old’s name was Helious.
Police have completed their investigation of the scene and the room has been turned back over to the hospital. No one else in the hospital was threatened or harmed.
According to Mesa Police Department Det. Steve Berry “Everything was kind of confined to that one room,” he said.
According to police, the boy had been hospitalized for the past week. Berry declined to say why the boy was hospitalized, citing privacy rules.
Banner Health, which owns Cardon Children’s Medical Center, said in a statement that each of their health care centers have a policy that prohibits weapons of any kind.
“The safety of our patients, associates and visitors is paramount to us and is our top priority,” the statement said. “Our thoughts are with the family and their loss at this time.”
The mother currently had an open case with the Arizona Department of Child Safety but she was the boy’s legal guardian, Berry said.