Hostage Situation Warning Came Too Late, VA Clinic Staff Say

Staff at the Veteran's Affairs Clinic in Denver are raising concerns about the handling of a hostage situation there Thursday, saying they weren't alerted about the incident while it was happening.

A patient at the clinic held a nurse hostage for round 10 minutes before being taken into custody.

Several staff members say that codes set up to alert them to violent incidents were never broadcast over the internal PA system, and that the first official communication about the hostage-taking came in an email well after the event was over. Those staffers asked to remain anonymous because they weren’t authorized to talk with reporters.

But a VA clinic spokesperson praised how staff and VA security handled Thursday’s incident. She says people in the immediate vicinity of the hostage taking were alerted and that the incident was contained so quickly that further all-staff warnings were unnecessary.