GENEVA – A member of the Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital housekeeping staff witnessed detainee Tywon Salters beating Kane County corrections officer Shawn Loomis on May 13, 2017, the day Salters disarmed Loomis and took two nurses hostage, according to a state police interview with the witness released through the Freedom of Information Act.
Salters, 21, held one of the nurses for hours, raping and terrorizing her before he was shot dead by a Kane County SWAT team officer.
Four nurses and two of their husbands are suing Kane County, Loomis and Delnor’s security company in federal court, asserting that the three defendants violated their duty to protect the nurses at Delnor, and then to warn the staff once Salters had a gun and took the nurses hostage. That lawsuit and lawsuits filed by other patients at the hospital that day are pending.
Maria Quezada, a member of the Delnor housekeeping staff, had just arrived on the hospital’s third floor about 12:50 p.m. and went to a closet where the cleaning supplies were kept when she heard “what sounded like dishes falling,” according to a portion of the Illinois State Police Public Integrity Task Force investigative report on the shooting.
“She looked to her right and observed two men in the hallway across from Room 3658 in a struggle, hitting one another,” the report stated.
Quezada recognized the African-American man as a jail inmate – Salters – who was in the hospital and that she had seen over a period of about four days. She also recognized the security guard as a corrections officer, whom she had seen earlier the same day sitting on the corner sofa with a tablet while the inmate was asleep.
“The security guard tried to grab the patient, but the patient kept hitting the security guard in the face,” the report stated.
A hallway struggle
Quezada hid in the supply closet, but watched as “the patient grabbed the security officer by the shoulders and somehow got him down to the ground, face down, and got on top,” the report stated. “The patient’s gown came off during the struggle. Quezada said the patient was hitting the security officer rapidly with his fists to the officer’s face and upper chest area. … He was also pushing the officer and grabbing the officer at the middle of his body. … The security officer was telling the patient to ‘stop!’ Quezada said the officer was screaming.”
Loomis appeared to be trying to grab Salters’ hands, but he “was punching too fast for the officer to grab them,” Quezada reported.
Quezada ran to another room to hide and continued to hear noises, the report stated.
“Quezada said she saw the patient run past the room she was in with the security officer running behind him. … Both men ran around the corner and she did not see them after that. … She did see the patient took something from the security officer; however, she did not see what he took,” the report stated.
When Quezada looked into the hallway again, she saw items from the patient on the floor, including his hospital gown, the report stated.
“The patient was not handcuffed and she did not hear the sound of any shackles,” the report stated.
Because she felt uncomfortable around Salters, Quezada said she tried to clean his hospital room only when he was asleep, the report stated.
Though the lawsuit asserts that corrections officers were seen sleeping while they were supposed to be guarding Salters, Quezada said she never saw the officer Salters was fighting with asleep, the report stated.
Quezada said the inmate normally kept his covers up to his eyes and she could not see his wrists or ankles to know whether he was shackled or handcuffed, the report stated.
On the earlier days and on May 13, she saw a pile of handcuffs on his tray table, but also a chain coming from underneath the covers closer to his feet “which would indicate the inmate was possibly unhandcuffed, but restrained to the bed by his ankles,” the report stated.
State police also attempted to interview Loomis about the incident later that same day at 9:43 p.m. at the sheriff’s office, the report stated.
Loomis was present with Joseph Andruzzi, an attorney from the Policemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association Labor Committee, union president and corrections officer Brett Kmieciki and union vice president and corrections officer John Hoffman, according to the report.
“It was explained to Loomis and his representatives [that] the interview was not administrative or criminal in nature. It was an interview to find out the events that occurred prior to the officer involved shooting,” the report stated.
After a break, Loomis declined to be interviewed, the report stated.
State police again attempted to interview Loomis through his attorney Tim O’Neil. After several attempts to schedule an interview with Loomis, O’Neil on Aug. 3 told state police investigators that Loomis would not be interviewed, the report stated.
In a text message response, O’Neil said two officers should have been on duty.
“The [Kane] County board refuses to hire more officers and now will realize the fruits of their frugality in the name of a property tax freeze,” O’Neil’s text stated. “Millions of dollars in a lawsuit that could have hired more officers, but instead directly led to a terrible set of injuries.”
The Kane County Sheriff’s Office now has two officers attend detainees when they go to the hospital, officials stated in an email.