BRONX, N.Y. (CN) — A patient who was shot in the leg last year at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital brought a lawsuit Monday over the deadly rampage carried out by a disgruntled former physician.
Represented by the firm Kramer Dillof, Wildanio Guareno says he had spent three days at the medical center on Grand Concourse before Henry Bello used his expired hospital ID to sneak in with an assault rifle on June 30, 2017.
Bronx-Lebanon had forced Bello to resign two years earlier, according to the complaint, after an investigation by the hospital revealed “aggressive sexual harassment and conduct.”
Guareno notes that Bello had only been on the job for six months but took the forced resignation badly, warning at least three hospital employees “that he would someday return to … Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center, and injure and/or kill those former colleagues by shooting them.”
Last summer, as Bello made good on his threat, Guareno says he was in his room on the 16th floor of the hospital “when he smelled smoke, heard gunshots and observed a nurse bleeding outside his assigned hospital room.”
Wearing his old hospital-issued lab coat, according to the complaint, Bello had gained entry to the hospital “while armed with an AR-15 rife and liquid accelerant.”
Guareno says he tried to get himself to safety after recognizing that no one at Bronx-Lebanon was going to stop Bello. As soon as Guareno made it to the stairwell, however, Bello shot him in the leg.
In addition to lighting the 16th nurse’s station on fire, Bello killed one doctor and injured six people before taking his own life.
While Guareno filed his suit in Bronx County Supreme Court, the hospital also faces a federal complaint over the shooting in Manhattan.
The suit by Justin Timperio, who had been a first-year medical resident at Bronx-Lebanon last year, also levels negligence claims against Upstate Guns & Ammo, which sold Bello the AR-15.
Guareno focuses his negligence claims only on Bronx-Lebanon, saying the hospital failed to perform a proper background investigation when it hired Bello in August 2014.
The complaint says such a check could have established “Bello’s prior criminal history and history of aggressive and criminal behavior.”
Guareno also criticizes the hospital for not confiscating Bello’s hospital ID card, which was supposed to have expired on June 30, 2017, but was never deactivated.
Seeking punitive damages, Guareno is represented by Kramer Dillof attorney Thomas Moore. Representatives for Bronx-Lebanon did not return an email seeking comment. Moore also has not replied to an email seeking comment.