UPDATED at 11:30 a.m. Friday with patient's name
ST. LOUIS • Security guards fatally shot a patient on the Barnes-Jewish Hospital campus after he pushed his way out of a treatment room and refused to drop two knives, police say.
The patient, 46, was identified as Andrew Merryman of Ballwin. Police say he had been suicidal when he pulled the knives from his pocket.
A relative reached Friday night declined to comment.
Merryman was fatally shot at the Center for Advanced Medicine about 10:30 a.m. The large building at Euclid Avenue and Forest Park Avenue includes the Siteman Cancer Center and other medical offices and clinics.
Merryman had been in a treatment room on the 14th floor with his wife before the shooting, according to St. Louis police Lt. Col. Rochelle D. Jones. He pushed his way out of the room and pulled two knives from his pockets, she said.
Police would not say why he was being treated.
Security guards were called, Jones said. Two guards arrived and ordered Merryman to drop the knives. He refused, so both officers fired their guns, killing him. He died at the scene.
Police described the man as “flourishing” the weapons, but it was not immediately clear whether he was threatening the guards or others or how close he was to them.
“You have your staff and you also have other people who are there who are being treated, so it was very dangerous and it could have been a lot worse,” Jones said.
She said the guards were being questioned by police as part of the investigation. City police are labeling the death a case of "justifiable homicide."
Kara Price Shannon, a spokeswoman for Barnes-Jewish Hospital, said police are handling the investigation and directed all questions to them.
“There is no threat to the public or our patients,” she told the Post-Dispatch shortly after the shooting.
St. Louis Children’s Hospital, which is on the same campus, was on a temporary lockdown as a precaution, said Laura High, a spokeswoman at Children’s.
The same building was the scene of a violent death last year, when a man fell or jumped to his death in the atrium.
Police said the man, 54, plunged from an upper floor balcony of the building onto the open area of the coffee-shop level. Authorities said at the time that it may have been a suicide.
Samantha Liss and Nassim Benchaabane of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.
Shake off your afternoon slump with the oft-shared and offbeat news of the day, hand-brewed by our online news editor, Mandy St. Amand.