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National alert for surgeon after NY hospital shooting

AP Photo/David Duprey

Police search the scene of a shooting at Erie Count Medical Center in Buffalo, N.Y., Wednesday, June 13, 2012. A police official confirmed Wednesday that a woman was killed on the grounds of the Erie County Medical Center. (AP Photo/David Duprey)

Police in Buffalo, N.Y., issued an alert to law enforcement agencies nationwide and parts of Canada Thursday for a trauma surgeon and former military weapons expert suspected of fatally shooting a receptionist at the hospital where they worked.

Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda told reporters at a press conference Thursday that evidence now points to a carefully planned exit strategy devised by Dr. Timothy Jorden, 49, prior to the shooting.

The search for Jorden began Wednesday morning shortly after Jacqueline Wisniewski, 33, was found shot dead around 8:15 a.m. in a stairwell at the Erie County Medical Center, the Buffalo News reported. Derenda said the shooting wasn’t a random act. Media reports say Wisniewski was Jorden’s ex-girlfriend.

Police searched unsuccessfully inside the hospital for more than four hours Wednesday. The sheriff’s department helicopter also hovered overhead for about two hours before leaving. The search moved to Jorden’s home near the Lake Erie shore, where police and SWAT team members in camouflage and unmarked SUVs blocked a road leading to the house. Police later said the house was empty after nine hours of searching.

Police returned to Jorden’s half-million-dollar home to search a nearby ravine with police dogs after a neighbor reported Thursday hearing a gunshot a little over an hour after the hospital shooting took place. They said all vehicles registered to Dr. Timothy Jorden, 49, have been accounted for.

Police warned that Jorden may be armed and should be considered dangerous.

Jorden, described as a bald, black male, about 6-foot-2-inches tall and weighing 250 pounds, has been licensed to practice medicine in New York for a decade. He has a medical degree from the University of Buffalo and trained at the Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Wash. He received his certification from the American Board of Surgery in 2004.

AP Photo/Buffalo N.Y. Police Department

Dr. Timothy Jorden is shown in this undated photo from the Buffalo, N.Y. Police Department.

Jorden joined the National Guard in high school, went into the Army after graduation and served with the Army’s Special Forces, first as a weapon’s expert, then as a medic in the Caribbean, Japan and Korea.

A friend of Wisniewski's told WIVB-TV that she used to live with Jorden but left him because she believed he was having affairs with other women. “When they broke up, he wouldn’t let go,” Heather Shipley said.

Jorden reportedly also put a GPS tracking device in Wisniewski’s car and once held her captive in her home for a day and a half, wielding a knife, according to local reports.

“She told me if anything happened to her,” Shipley said, “that it was him.”

Jorden’s colleagues told the Buffalo News that he had been acting strangely in recent months, avoiding eye contact and basic communication.

Others who know him told the Buffalo News he has served as a role model for black youth in Buffalo.

Betty Jean Grant, chairwoman of the Erie County Legislature, told the Buffalo News she watched Jorden grow up and never knew him to get in any trouble.

“It’s tragic that a doctor who saved countless lives might be accused of taking someone else’s life,” she said. “It puts a dark cloud over the mission of a hospital that’s dedicated to saving lives.”

Incoming patients to the hospital were diverted to Buffalo General Hospital.

“This is an unspeakable tragedy for everyone involved,” ECMC CEO Jody Lomeo said in a statement. “At this time, all ECMC officials and staff are taking direction from police authorities who are in charge of this investigation.”

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