ODESSA, Texas (KMID/KPEJ)- On Monday evening, the Odessa Police Department arrested an 18-year-old man who allegedly broke into the newborn nursery at Odessa Regional Medical Center and assaulted two infants along with a group of medical staff trying to help the babies. Now an affidavit has revealed new details about the events that led to the arrest of Marcus McCowan Jr.
McCowan has been charged with two counts of Attempted Capital Murder, as well as Assault, Assault of a Public Servant, Resisting Arrest, Attempting to Take a Weapon From an Officer, Criminal Trespass, and Possession of a Controlled Substance.
According to the affidavit, around 6:30 p.m. on October 3, officers with the Odessa Police Department were called to ORMC, located at 520 E 6th Street after nurses called 911 and said a man was choking an infant. Officers arrived on the scene and, after a brief scuffle in which McCowan tried to resist, placed him in handcuffs. Investigators said as McCowan was being escorted away, he tried twice to take an officer’s gun from his holster but was unsuccessful.
Once McCowan was removed from the Labor and Delivery unit, investigators met with several nurses and a respiratory therapist who explained in detail what transpired.
McCowan was visiting the hospital because his girlfriend was in labor. According to one nurse, McCowan approached her at the nurse’s station and grabbed her arm and made an “unintelligible statement”. He was asked to leave the area and nurses said he then began running back and forth in the hall. The nurses called McCowan’s actions “odd and unreasonable”.
McCowan then reportedly approached a new mom who was holding her newborn in a baby carrier while waiting to be discharged. The nurses said McCown began focusing his attention on the newborn, but briefly walked away when the new mother moved her child from his line of sight. A short time later, nurses said they heard stomping and then saw McCowan running toward them at full speed while yelling and screaming.
McCowan then charged all three nurses and tried to enter the nursery, which was locked and inaccessible to the public; McCowan reportedly pushed one nurse to the ground while trying to break into the nursery. After an unsuccessful attempt to gain access, McCowan grabbed the newborn in the carrier from its mother and took the baby into the Lactation Room. A nurse followed McCowan inside and reportedly saw him with his hands around the baby’s neck. Nurses said the infant’s face changed color from lack of oxygen before they were able to wrestle the baby away and remove him from the Lactation Room.
At that point, a respiratory therapist, who heard yelling and came to investigate, saw McCowan force his way into the nursery, this time, successfully.
The therapist ran to the nursery and saw McCowan grab a newborn and begin strangling her with both hands. According to the witness, McCowan then picked up the baby, who had since turned blue, by her neck and began to shake her.
The therapist said McCowan said “die” to the infant and made a move as if he were going to throw her to the ground. The woman caught up to McCowan at that point and tried to slowly pull him to the ground in order to keep the child from falling. The therapist stayed with McCowan and the newborn, protecting her head in the process, until help arrived.
McCowan remained in the Ector County Law Enforcement Center as of Tuesday evening; his bond has been set at a combined $228,000.
This afternoon, ORMC’s President Stacey Brown released the following statement:
“I want to express my sincere gratitude to those who responded to the incident last evening, especially our nurses, therapists and security team who worked diligently to protect innocent babies and others. The staff and physicians, along with the response team from the Odessa Police Department, are incredible heroes and we are all so grateful to each of them. Our attention is now focused on caring for and supporting those who were impacted by this including our patients, their families, and our staff.”