Doctor in Austin murder-suicide was accused of abusing ‘hapless’ ex-wife
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The doctor with terminal cancer who killed a pediatrician before taking his own life at an Austin medical office was previously accused of abusing his ex-wife — whom he derided as a “hapless” person, court filings show.
Dr. Bharat Narumanchi who police say took hostages before killing 43-year-old Dr. Katherine Lindley Dodson in a murder-suicide at the Children’s Medical Group late Tuesday, was charged with domestic abuse in Hawaii in 2012, but the case was later dismissed, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
Narumanchi, 43, characterized his ex-wife in one court filing as a “hapless person from childhood,” claiming she only married him to gain US citizenship that “eluded her when she lived in the US as a student,” the newspaper reported.
Court records cited by KXAN show Narumanchi filed for divorce in 2012. The couple had joint custody of their daughter and records tie Narumanchi to a home in north Austin, where residents with the same last name currently live, but he’s not listed as one of its owners, the station reported.
Austin police Lt. Jeff Greenwalt said investigators believe the doctor’s terminal cancer diagnosis “probably played a large part” in him taking four hostages who either escaped or were released before cops arrived.
Hostages told the Statesman-America that Narumanchi stormed into the office at about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday while carrying two duffel bags, a pistol and a shotgun.
Narumanchi’s relatives, meanwhile, told investigators they had started inquiring about hospice care for the doctor following his diagnosis of having just “weeks” to live. Police have not indicated what type of cancer he had, KXAN reported.
Public records cited by the Statesman-American show that Narumanchi lived in several states. He most recently practiced at Providence Health Services in southern California and was also licensed as a doctor in Oklahoma, Connecticut, Wisconsin and Florida, employment records show.
After graduating medical school in 2008 from St. George’s University School of Medicine in Grenada, Narumanchi worked for 18 months at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Manhattan before being fired in December 2009, KXAN reported.
Narumanchi later filed a grievance over his firing and then rejected a proposed settlement, federal court records show.
The doctor later submitted a claim $24,700 in bankruptcy court when the now-defunct hospital filed Chapter 11 in 2010, but it was later revised to just $1,524, records show.
In 2012, Narumanchi was issued a “physician and surgeon A” license to practice medicine in California, where it was valid through August 2022, KXAN reported.
It remains unclear why Narumanchi targeted the hospital, although he had been turned down for a volunteer position at the facility weeks ago, investigators said. A staffer told the Statesman-American that Narumanchi did not meet Dodson during that visit.
“We don’t know if that’s the reason he decided to come back or if there’s some other involvement that he may have had,” Greenwalt said Wednesday.
Narumanchi’s parents said in a statement Wednesday that they’re cooperating with investigators, but “don’t understand” what motivated their son to murder.
“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,” the statement read.
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