A woman who worked at Heritage Park Care Center in Carbondale is suing the home and Carbondale police over a safety drill during which she alleges she was held hostage at gunpoint without knowing it was a drill, Reuters reported Wednesday.
“Meeker, a registered nurse, was tending to one of her long-term patients when another employee told her to see what a ‘suspicious’ man sitting in the center’s day room wanted,” Reuters reported that the lawsuit said.
Meeker alleges that the man displayed a handgun and told her to go into an unoccupied room where, the lawsuit says, he told her he was a police officer, but she didn’t know if he was lying.
“In a desperate plea for her life, she begged the man not to hurt her, telling him she had a young child,” Reuters quoted the complaint as saying.
The officer, the Carbondale police chief, and executives of the center are named as defendants.
Robert Baker, the executive director of the center and one of the named defendants, told Reuters in a statement that the facility routinely conducts safety, fire and natural disaster drills for its residents.
“Unfortunately, the training exercise alarmed some at our facility.”
Carbondale Police Chief Gene Schilling told the Post Independent on Wednesday evening that all questions were being referred to attorney Thomas Rice.
Rice told Reuters that Heritage approached Carbondale police to help with the drill, and police told the facility to inform workers of the upcoming scenario.
He said that it wasn’t the town’s responsibility to inform the staff, that the gun wasn’t real and that the officer offered to show Meeker his identification.
Reuters said Meeker left Heritage and is seeking unspecified damages.