April 16, 2007
HOUSTON, TEXAS — A man holding his newborn daughter was shot by a security officer with a stun gun as the man tried to leave a hospital without permission, according to police and the baby’s parents.
The 2-day-old baby fell to the hospital floor but was not injured in the incident last week.
The father was charged with endangering the infant. He and his wife say the security officer should have been charged with the same offense.
William Lewis and his wife, who was not named by the Houston Chronicle, said they were ready to leave the Woman’s Hospital of Texas on Thursday but hospital staff told them not to go.
When they decided to leave anyway, an alarm sensor on the baby — routinely used by hospitals to prevent kidnappings — went off, and staff called security.
An off-duty police officer working in hospital security shocked Lewis with an electric stun gun after warning him several times not to leave the hospital, said Houston police spokesman Gabe Ortiz. In his report of the incident, D.M. Boling did not indicate whether he knew Lewis was the baby’s father, Ortiz added. Boling estimated the baby fell 2 feet before landing on the floor.
Police charged Lewis with endangerment, a step down from an initial kidnapping charge. He was released on $5,000 bond.
“Maybe I broke some hospital policies, but I broke no laws,” Lewis said.
His wife said she saw the encounter taking place from her room, where she was recovering from a Caesarean section. She said her husband was holding their baby when the officer shot him with the stun gun.
“My baby hit the concrete floor. … When I went down to pick her up to take her to the neo unit, her scream was so loud and so bad I thought she was dying right there,” she said. “The only thing that endangered my child was that police officer.”
Pediatricians examined the baby and said she was fine, but her mother said, “She shakes real bad. She’s not as calm as she was before.”