Lawsuit: Deputy hid after inmate stole weapon, took hostages at Ill. hospital
On suicide watch at the jail, Tywon Salters' previous behavior showed he'd seek opportunities to escape custody, according to the lawsuit
By Hannah Leone
The Daily Southtown
KANE COUNTY, Ill. — Two nurses taken hostage after a Kane County inmate escaped his room at Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital filed suit Thursday alleging the corrections deputy assigned to guard Tywon Salters left him unshackled, then ran and hid after the inmate took the officer's gun.
Identified only as Jane Doe 1 and 2, the nurses and their husbands are suing the Kane County Sheriff's Office, APEX3 security and corrections deputy Shawn Loomis in connection with the May 13 hostage situation at the Geneva hospital.
Salters left the hospital room naked and sexually assaulted one of the nurses, who was also struck in the arm by the bullet that killed her captor, attorney Sean P. Murray said during a Thursday news conference. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court, seeks compensatory damages, court costs, attorney fees and other relief.
"I represent employees who just came to work that day to do their job, and they left traumatized for life," Murray said during a Thursday news conference. The nurses did not attend the news conference.
On suicide watch at the jail, Salters' previous behavior showed he'd seek opportunities to escape custody, according to the lawsuit. The sheriff's office, Loomis and the private security company paid by the hospital knew Salters posed a danger to nurses and staff, yet failed to handle him properly, the lawsuit alleges.
Sheriff's officers assigned to monitor Salters around the clock should have maintained control over him and kept his leg shackled to his bed, the lawsuit argues.
Salters had been unshackled for about a half hour when he moved on Loomis, somehow taking the officer's 9mm handgun, the lawsuit claims.
The Kane County Sheriff's Office is referring questions to the office of Kane County State's Attorney Joe McMahon. McMahon declined to comment on the pending litigation or investigation.
According to the lawsuit, a nurse discovered a corrections officer asleep on the couch in Salters' room; sheriff's officers routinely unshackled Salters; and the morning of the hostage standoff, an unnamed officer tasked with guarding the inmate was sitting on a recliner, using his laptop.
When Loomis started his shift, he replaced that officer, eventually removing Salters' leg shackle so he could use bathroom and failing to replace it, according to the lawsuit.
Five days after Salters was hospitalized for eating plastic off a sandal from his jail uniform, authorities said the 21-year-old inmate from Chicago instigated the hostage scenario during which Delnor went on lockdown and evacuated patients from the emergency area.
Once he was disarmed, the lawsuit alleges Loomis ran to a room down the hallway, shut the door and hid, violating county policy by taking no action to protect others.
Meanwhile, Salters found his way into an office, where a nurse said he made her take off her clothes, physically and verbally abused her, threatened her and held her at gunpoint.
When another nurse went into the office, Salters took her hostage as well. At some point, the second nurse convinced him to let her use the phone. She warned other hospital staff about the situation, setting in motion emergency procedures and making her "nothing short of a hero," Murray said.
"Her actions that day likely led to many other hospital employees not being harmed," Murray said.
Salters left the first nurse behind and took the other to a first-floor decontamination room, where he forced the second nurse to take off her clothes. The nurse led Salters to the lower room because she figured it would be empty, so the rest of the hospital staff would be safe, Murray said.
For more than three hours, Salters beat, abused, threatened and raped the nurse, the lawsuit states.
"The entire time that she was held captive, he held her hair with one hand and had the gun to her head with the other hand," Murray said. "She was told she was going to die, told she was going to leave in a body bag."
Negotiators tried, unsuccessfully, to reason with Salters. He asked them for a car, Murray said.
A SWAT team of specially trained officers went into the area where he was holding the nurse hostage shortly before 4 p.m., officials said.
A shot fired from the gun Salters had taken lodged in a SWAT officer's bulletproof vest, McMahon said in a press briefing that day.
A North Aurora police officer on the team fired at least one shot at Salters, striking him in the head. Murray said that bullet also hit the nurse in her arm. Authorities have released limited information about the order of events.
On March 11, Salters was charged with two counts of class 2 felony receiving, possessing or selling a stolen motor vehicle in Elgin and booked in the Kane County Jail, where his bail was set at $75,000 with 10 percent to apply for bond. Salters had been on parole since October 2016, when records show he was released from the Hill Correctional Center. He was sentenced in May 2013 to six years in the Illinois Department of Corrections for charges related to a stolen vehicle out of downstate Vermilion County and a 48-month sentence for a robbery in Elgin, both committed in 2012 when he was 17 years old, at a time when he was automatically tried as an adult.
©2017 The Daily Southtown (Tinley Park, Ill.)