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Two dead in nursing home shooting; former aide charged

April 30, 1997 GMT

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) _ Two nursing home administrators were gunned down as they left work, and police arrested a fired nursing assistant described by co-workers as mentally unstable.

Kimberly Harris, 23, of Elizabethtown was charged early today with two counts of murder. She entered a plea of innocent at an arraignment before Jefferson District Judge Steve Ryan.

No residents or other employees were injured in the shootings outside Jefferson Place nursing home.

Deborah Bell, 46, the home’s acting administrator and executive director, and Patty Eitel, 43, nursing director, were shot about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday as they walked onto a sidewalk toward the parking lot.

Both women died of multiple gunshot wounds, Jefferson County Deputy Coroner Linda Knopf said.

Police were checking records of telephone calls placed from the home to see if the administrators had reported getting any threats, said Officer Troy Riggs, a spokesman for Jefferson County police.

About 30 minutes after the shootings, police stopped a car driven by Ms. Harris, who had been fired by the nursing home. A handgun was found in her car, police said.

Police said Ms. Harris vomited during questioning and had to be taken to University Hospital. She was taken to jail this morning.

Brittany McCorkle, a nurse’s aide at Jefferson Place, said the suspect was fired after being taken from work to a mental hospital about five months ago.

``She just started wigging out and asked to be sent to a mental hospital and they did,″ she said.

Bobbi Briggs, an employee who answered the phone at the nursing homes, said she was in a patient’s room when the shooting started.

Ms. Briggs said the suspect was a former employee who left a few months ago ``under not pleasant circumstances.″

``This former employee was a sick person, and that takes care of it all,″ she said.