(CBS/AP) BUFFALO, N.Y. - Police scoured the Buffalo area Thursday morning, searching for an award-winning trauma surgeon and former military weapons expert to question him about the fatal shooting of a receptionist at the hospital where they worked.
City police spokesman Michael DeGeorge wouldn’t divulge details of the search, where police were focused or how many officers were involved. He only said the search for 49-year-old Timothy Jorden was extensive and ongoing. Police say Jorden may be armed and should be considered dangerous.
Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda was expected to give an update on the killing by noon.
On Thursday morning, there were no memorials and no sign of Wednesday’s violence at the Erie County Medical Center, where 33-year-old Jacqueline Wisniewski was gunned down in a stairwell.
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 CBS Buffalo affiliate 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Calls to several family members of Wisniewski were either to outdated phone numbers or were not immediately returned.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.