Family members have identified the nursing assistant who police say was shot dead by a co-worker wearing body armor over his scrubs, and brandishing an assault-style rifle, at a Philadelphia hospital as a married father who worked two jobs to support his three children.
Anrae James, a 43-year-old certified nursing assistant at Jefferson University Hospital, was killed when a nurse at the facility, identified by the authority as 55-year-old Stacey Hayes, opened fire early Monday morning.
Hayes allegedly fled the scene in a U-Haul truck and later engaged police in a gun battle near a school, leaving two officers wounded.
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Anrae James, 43, was shot dead while working as a nursing assistant at Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. James is picture with his wife, right
A nurse wearing scrubs and body armor shot and killed a co-worker at the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital (pictured) just after midnight Monday
On Tuesday, Hayes, who was shot and injured by the police, was charged with murder, attempted criminal homicide, aggravated assault, assault on law enforcement, firearms crimes and related offenses in the rampage.
Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Frank Vanore told The Philadelphia Inquirer that it’s unclear whether Hayes was supposed to have been working at the time, but detectives believe he used an employee entrance. Investigators are still trying to find out why he might have targeted his co-worker.
‘We have not discovered any hostility between them, or any issues that we can point out,’ Vanore said.
Court records obtained by NBC10 indicate that Hayes had recently filed a motion asking a judge to compel the Philadelphia police to return his arsenal of firearms to him, which had been previously seized for an unspecified reason.
Hayes wrote in his petition: ‘because the property was purchased legally by me, I didn’t commit any crime and I feel like the property should be returned to me because I am not a threat to anyone. I just want to be able to protect myself and my family if needed.’
In June, police were ordered by the judge to return a 12-gauge shotgun with 12 rounds, a Panther AR-15 rifle and a Smith & Wesson pistol with three magazines and 39 rounds to Hayes.
The Philadelphia police declined on Wednesday to say why they had taken the guns away from Hayes, referring DailyMail.com to the District Attorney’s Office.
DailyMail,com reached out to DA Larry Krasner’s officer seeking comment and was awaiting a reply.
James was described as a family man who worked as a nurse and a part-time barber to support his wife, Barbara, their two daughters, aged 16 and one, and an 11-year-old son.
‘He was an asset to society, raising up a good family,’ Anrae’s father, William James, told Action News. ‘He was a good man. And for him to go out like that from someone like that is heartbreaking,’
Surveillance video, which has not been released to the public, reportedly showed Hayes ambush James from behind and open fire on him as the victim sat at his work station.
Hayes allegedly kept firing on James as he tried to flee for his life.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw (pictured) said officers cornered the shooter after he fled in a U Haul, and they got into a shootout. Two officers were injured with non-life threatening injuries
Cops cornered the shooter in the city’s Parkside section after he fled the Hospital in a U-Haul box truck. Armed with multiple weapons, including an AR-15 rifle and a handgun, police said, the the suspect opened fire on the officers, and all four fired back.
Two officers received non-life-threatening injuries during the shootout. The gunman was shot in the upper body and neck and was taken to Penn Presbyterian in critical condition for treatment, and is expected to survive.
Police have not released Hayes’ booking photo as of Wednesday morning because he remained in the hospital.
Police said they believe the shooting was targeted.
James’ father wondered how Hayes was able to bring multiple weapons into the hospital.
James worked two jobs – as a nursing assistant and a barber – to help support his wife and their three children, ranging in age from one to 16 (pictured together)
James was described as a family man who loved his daughters and son. He is pictured right with his 16-year-old daughter
‘How did he get in there with a gun?’ asked William James. ‘I just hope [Hayes] lives so I can see him cause I just want to see what kind of individual this is.’
Hayes was wearing scrubs when he shot James, of Elkins Park, on the ninth floor of Thomas Jefferson University Hospital just after midnight, authorities allege. James was pronounced dead shortly after 1am Monday.
The gunman fled in a box truck, and just before 1.30am Monday police responded to a report of gunfire in west Philadelphia’s Parkside neighborhood near the School of the Future on the edge of Fairmount Park.
Police found the suspect in body armor and with weapons including a rifle and a handgun, police said. He opened fire, and four officers returned fire, critically wounding him in the upper body and neck, police said.
Police said the the suspect fired anywhere from 55 to 80 times in the shootout, Fox29 reported.
Police said one of the wounded officers had an elbow injury requiring surgery, while another was grazed on the nose.
The shooting suspect fled in a U-Haul box truck (pictured) before being cornered by officers in the Parkside section of Philadelphia
Officers were alerted to the shooting suspect’s location by a passerby, who said they saw a man waving a large gun
A gunfight erupted outside the U-Haul truck after the shooting suspect opened fire on the officers
One officer was injured in the elbow in the shootout, and the other suffered a grazing wound to the nose. Police were seen at the scene of the shootout Monday morning
It was unclear what sparked the shooting and investigators were looking into the histories of both men.
‘We do believe that other employee was targeted,’ she said. ‘The reasons why, at this point we still don’t know.’
Hospital employees said they were notified by text message shortly before 1am of an active shooter situation in the Gibbon building of the hospital, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Pedestrians walked past the Thomas Jefferson hospital Monday morning, hour after the shooting took place
Police said they believe the nurse had access to areas only employees can enter
‘Enact emergency procedures,’ the text read. ‘Run, hide, fight.’
In a neighboring hospital building, employees said they heard an official over the loudspeaker telling them to shelter in place. Some told the outlet that they barricaded themselves in a break room for roughly an hour.
Jefferson Health issued a statement Monday afternoon saying weapons are barred from its campuses and vowing ‘a thorough review’ of safety protocols. Counseling will be available to employees and patients, the company said.
A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to help James’ family.
‘Rae was the epitome of a family man and truly loved by everyone,’ the description written by Barbara James read. ‘Some knew him as Rae or RZA, but everyone knew him as the genuinely good man that had the knack for making every interaction/conversation special, you just knew that he cared.’