Nationwide alert for NY surgeon in woman's death

Nationwide alert for NY surgeon in woman's death

June 14th, 2012 by Associated Press in Local - Breaking News

Law enforcement officers search the scene of a shooting at Erie Count Medical Center in Buffalo, N.Y., Wednesday, June 13, 2012. A police official confirms that a woman was killed Wednesday morning on the grounds of the Erie County Medical Center, which he describes as being in "complete lockdown" as SWAT teams and other officers cordon off the 65-acre campus.

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

In this undated photo provided by the Buffalo, N.Y. Police Department, Dr. Timothy Jorden is shown. Jorden is sought as a "person of Interest" in a fatal shooting of a woman at a Buffalo, N.Y. hospital. (AP Photo/Buffalo N.Y. Police Department)

In this undated photo provided by the Buffalo,...

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.


BUFFALO, N.Y. - Law enforcement officials across the country were asked Thursday to be on the lookout for a trauma surgeon and former military weapons expert sought in connection with the shooting death of his ex-girlfriend in a Buffalo hospital.

A pick-up order for Timothy Jorden has been transmitted to every law enforcement agency in the land, including local, state and federal offices. The search for Jorden, now in its second day, includes officials with the FBI, Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Marshals Service, according to Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda.

Police were confident Jorden hadn't crossed the border into Canada, but Derenda said they do not know where he is or might be headed.

"He's out there somewhere," Derenda said at a late-morning news conference. Police say Jorden may be armed and should be considered dangerous.

The search began Wednesday morning when 33-year-old Jacqueline Wisniewski was found shot to death in a stairwell at the Erie County Medical Center, where she and Jorden both worked.

Derenda said all four vehicles registered to the 49-year-old Jorden have been accounted for.

Earlier Thursday, police dogs searched the ravine near Jorden's luxury lakeshore home. A neighbor had reported he heard a gunshot the day before.

Tom Wrzosek told The Associated Press that he was home around 9:30 Wednesday morning when he heard a shot.

"I heard a shot, a single shot, and I dismissed it," he said. "You don't often hear it but you do hear it."

He told police Thursday morning after thinking more about the timing.

"My girlfriend mentioned if he committed suicide someone would have heard it," he said.

Jorden, who has been licensed to practice medicine in New York for a decade, has served as a role model for black youth in Buffalo, people who know him told the Buffalo News.

Betty Jean Grant, chairwoman of the Erie County Legislature, told the newspaper she watched Jorden grow up and never knew him to get into 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."

Police say Wisniewski was shot four times. Derenda said the shooting wasn't a random act, and media reports say Wisniewski was Jorden's ex-girlfriend.

After the shooting, police unsuccessfully searched inside for the gunman for more than four hours.

They blocked a road leading to the surgeon's home in an isolated area of private Lake View residences near the Lake Erie shore. SWAT team members in camouflage arrived in unmarked SUVs. A helicopter flew over the house before leaving. Police later said the house was empty.

Heather Shipley, a friend of Wisniewski, told WIVB-TV that Wisniewski feared Jorden. Wisniewski used to live with Jorden but left him because she believed he was having affairs with other women, Shipley said. When they broke up, he wouldn't let go, Shipley said.

She said Wisniewski told her the doctor had put a GPS tracking device in her car and once held her captive in her home for a day and a half, wielding a knife.

"She told me if anything happened to her, that it was him," Shipley told the station.

Calls to several family members of Wisniewski were either to outdated phone numbers or were not immediately returned.

Jorden's colleagues told the Buffalo News that he had been acting strangely in recent months, avoiding eye contact and basic communication. They also say he had lost a lot of weight - as much as 75 pounds, estimated Michael Carr, who works in the surgical recovery room.

"All I know is he was a good doctor, really polite," Carr told the newspaper. "He always had something good to say."

Jorden has a medical degree from the University at Buffalo and trained at the Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Wash. He received his certification from the American Board of Surgery in 2004.

The News reported that 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 weapons expert, then as a medic. In those roles, he served in the Caribbean, Japan and Korea.

Jorden is certified in advanced-trauma life support and has received numerous awards recognizing his relationships with patients, his teaching skills and his involvement in the community, the newspaper said.

Calls to two listings in Washington state for Jorden's ex-wife, Frances, were not returned.

Officials said as many as 400 patients and about half of the hospital's 2,000 employees were on the grounds at the time of the shooting.

Associated Press researcher Judith Ausuebel in New York City contributed to this report.