Tucson AZ Dec 5 2016
A Tucson Medical Center employee who was shot in a parking garage in August is suing the hospital, claiming it did not keep the premises reasonably safe.
Neritza Gonzalez was shot by an unknown man after she finished her shift at about 9 p.m. Aug. 30, 2016, states the lawsuit.
At the time of the shooting, Gonzalez was 25. She is represented by personal injury lawyer Steven Weinberger of Layfield & Barrett in Scottsdale.
Weinberger would not say whether Gonzalez was still employed at TMC or what her position was at the time of the shooting.
TMC officials also would not release that information.
According to the suit filed in Pima County Superior Court in November, Gonzalez walked to her car in the garage on the northeast side of the hospital. She entered the car through the passenger door because of bird excrement on the driver’s-side door handle.
Gonzalez was placing her handbag on the back seat when a stranger tapped her on her shoulder. She turned around and faced the man, who fired a gun, the bullet striking her in the left arm. The bullet “traveled through her arm and came to rest in her abdomen/hip area on the right side of her body,” states the document.
Gonzalez was taken to a trauma center, according to the lawsuit.
The shooter has not been identified, and security cameras in the parking garage “were found to not be working at the time of this incident,” states the suit.
Gonzalez claims TMC knew the hospital at 5301 E. Grant Road was a “high violent crime area” and for that reason the hospital “incorporated surveillance cameras in its overall security plan.”
The suit says hospital officials were negligent because they failed to provide adequate security, did not have enough security guards on duty, failed to have proper lighting in the garage, and failed to have security cameras in proper working condition.
Gonzalez suffered physical pain and discomfort, suffering, anxiety and medical expenses, and is requesting a jury trial, states the document.
She is asking for general damages, special damages and legal fees.
According to an Arizona Daily Star article, at the time of the shooting, TMC was placed on lockdown and people were escorted to their vehicles by officers, a Tucson Police Department spokesman said.
Julia Strange, a TMC vice president, said in an interview after the shooting that the assailant was captured on surveillance camera, and officials believe the shooting was an isolated incident.
She said administrators had meetings with the hospital staff and were proactive about what could be done to improve safety.
Rhonda Bodfield, a spokeswoman for TMC, said that the hospital cannot comment on pending litigation.