By msnbc.com staff and wire reports
A region-wide manhunt continued Thursday for a trauma surgeon and former military weapons expert suspected of fatally shooting a receptionist at the Buffalo, N.Y., hospital where they worked.
Authorities began searching Wednesday for Dr. Timothy Jorden, 49, shortly after Jacqueline Wisniewski, 33, was found dead around 8:15 a.m. in a stairwell at the Erie County Medical Center, the Buffalo News reported. Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda said the shooting wasn’t a random act. Media reports say Wisniewski was Jordan’s ex-girlfriend.
Police searched unsuccessfully inside the hospital for more than four hours Wednesday. They also blocked a road leading to Jorden’s home in an isolated area of private residences near the Lake Erie shore. SWAT team members arrived in camouflage and unmarked SUVs, and the sheriff’s department helicopter flew over the scene for about two hours before leaving. Police later said the house was empty.
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.
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.”