Saturday, February 24, 2018
News Roundup

Doctor accused in four slayings was denied licenses

OMAHA, Neb. — An Indiana doctor accused of killing four people with ties to a Nebraska medical school that fired him was denied medical licenses in at least two states after the dismissal from Creighton University more than a decade ago.

Authorities have not disclosed a motive in the slayings, except to note the firing. But documents show that the dismissal for erratic behavior in 2001 had long-lasting effects on Anthony Garcia's career.

The slayings took place in two separate attacks five years apart.

The 40-year-old physician, who appeared before an Illinois judge Tuesday, is accused of killing a pathology professor and his wife earlier this year, as well as the 2008 stabbings of another professor's son and housekeeper in a neighborhood near the home of billionaire Warren Buffett.

Documents provided Tuesday by an Indiana medical licensing board show Garcia was denied a medical license in Louisiana a month before the 2008 killings. The May killings occurred within months of Garcia being denied an Indiana license.

Garcia, who now lives in Terre Haute, Ind., was arrested by Illinois State Police on Monday during a traffic stop in Union County, in southern Illinois.

The arrest came two months after Creighton professor Roger Brumback was fatally shot and his wife stabbed to death in their home. Back in 2008, the son of another pathology professor, William Hunter, and his housekeeper were stabbed to death in an affluent Omaha neighborhood.

Brumback and Hunter fired Garcia. Neither police nor Creighton officials have detailed the behavior that led to the dismissal.

But a letter sent by Brumback in January to the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency said Garcia was fired after attempting to sabotage a fellow Creighton resident. Documents filed with the letter showed that Garcia called the wife of the colleague — who was in the midst of a high-pressure test — insisting that the colleague return to the university's pathology department.

Garcia quit a previous residency to avoid a disciplinary hearing for yelling at a radiology resident. He was fired from subsequent residence programs after failing to obtain a medical license because he omitted problems at earlier programs.

Detectives had few leads in the first killings. Eleven-year-old Thomas Hunter and the housekeeper, Shirlee Sherman, were probably not the intended targets of the 2008 attack, and investigators believe Garcia acted alone, Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said.

Witnesses reported seeing a well-dressed, olive-skinned man parking a Honda CR-V about a block from the Hunter home and walking up to the door with a case of some type.

Police released a sketch based on witnesses' recollections, and an award for information climbed to more than $50,000. But police were unable to develop any solid leads, despite an airing of the case on "America's Most Wanted."

Seven years had passed from the time Garcia was fired until the killings of Thomas and his housekeeper.

"For most people, that's such a long time in between," Omaha police spokeswoman Lt. Darci Tierney said. "It's probably understandable why his name wouldn't come up."

Tierney said detectives made progress in the case after the slaying of the Brumbacks, when an FBI task force was created to look into the slayings.

It was unclear where Garcia finished his medical residency after being fired from Creighton.

Since 2003, he has held medical licenses in California, Illinois and Indiana, but his temporary Indiana license expired in January, according to public records.

Garcia was briefly employed in 2009 as an independent contractor for a Chicago service that offered home doctor visits to the elderly. The physician who employed Garcia described him as "mild-mannered" and "a really nice guy."

"He was never aggressive. He was never belligerent. He was never angry or losing his temper or impatient," said Dr. Benjamin Toh.

But a neighbor in Terre Haute, Benjamin Fairhurst, said police were called when Garcia twice brought flowers to two college-aged women in the neighborhood.

"He was strange, I will say that," said Fairhurst, a retired bank president.

Garcia told neighbors he was a doctor at the federal prison in Terre Haute.

Fairhurst said Garcia came and left home at strange hours and never had any visitors. But he waved as he passed by and wished neighbors happy holidays, Fairhurst said.

"I had no idea he was involved with this stuff," he said. "But now as I look back I can kind of see it."

When he was arrested, Garcia appeared to be intoxicated and had a .45-caliber handgun, police said. He was jailed without bond.

Garcia appeared in court in Jonesboro, Ill., about 120 miles southeast of St. Louis. A judge deferred questions about any possible extradition to Nebraska until Garcia confers with an attorney, according to a report by the Southern Illinoisan newspaper in Carbondale.

Allison Motta, a Chicago-area attorney who said she was contacted by Garcia's family to represent him, declined Tuesday to discuss the case with The Associated Press as she was traveling to southern Illinois.

Another court hearing was scheduled for Wednesday.

Neighbors of the Brumbacks were still digesting the news of Garcia's arrest.

"It saddens us to think that something like this could happen, and no one saw anything," said Carol Fettin, who lives three houses down from the Brumback home. "We racked our brains, trying to come up with something."

Court records show Garcia filed for bankruptcy in 2005, saying he was more than $81,000 in debt. The only assets he listed were about $1,000 in cash and a 2000 Honda CR-V.

Comments

‘Up to States’ to armteachers, Trump tweets

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump appeared Saturday to begin refining his proposals for combatting school violence, tweeting that arming teachers as a deterrent against such often deadly violence — an idea he championed in recent days — is "Up to S...
Updated: 7 minutes ago
Security Council demands30-day cease-fire in Syria

Security Council demands30-day cease-fire in Syria

UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved a resolution Saturday demanding a 30-day cease-fire across Syria "without delay" to deliver humanitarian aid to millions and evacuate the critically ill and wounded. U.N. humanitarian ch...
Updated: 16 minutes ago

Updated: 1 hour ago
Call her more than just a survivor

Call her more than just a survivor

TAMPA — On the quiet morning of Oct. 8, 2011, a 30-ton freight truck ran a stop sign in the small town of Clinton, Conn.It ran over Colleen Kelly Alexander, who was riding a bicycle.The truck's front wheels crushed her, then spit her to the bac...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Sheriff: Tampa crash results in natural gas leak near Citrus Park Mall

Sheriff: Tampa crash results in natural gas leak near Citrus Park Mall

TAMPA — Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and Fire Rescue responded to a crash Saturday afternoon that resulted in a natural gas leak on Citrus Park Drive, the Sheriff’s Office said. Officials said the area was evacuated and shut down from Gunn Hi...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Police: Male motorcyclist crashed, then the driver was run over by two cars

Police: Male motorcyclist crashed, then the driver was run over by two cars

TAMPA — A male motorcyclist died early Saturday morning on the Courtney Campbell Causeway, the Tampa Police Department said.About 1:35 a.m., the victim rode his motorcycle west on the Courtney Campbell at high speeds, police said. The motorcycle stru...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Northeast High alumnus Jon Mott wins 3rd Gasparilla 15K crown

Northeast High alumnus Jon Mott wins 3rd Gasparilla 15K crown

TAMPA — Roughly 20 minutes into Saturday morning's Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic 15K, reigning champ A.J. Richmond glanced over his left shoulder to former college teammate Jon Mott and flashed a quick hand signal."He was telling me that t...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Broward sheriff’s office launches internal investigations amid questions after Parkland massacre

Broward sheriff’s office launches internal investigations amid questions after Parkland massacre

The Broward County Sheriff’s Office said it is investigating allegations that multiple deputies failed to enter Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, after the shooting rampage there, adding to the mounting internal probes examin...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Police: Registered sex offender who attacked Marriott hotel worker arrested

Police: Registered sex offender who attacked Marriott hotel worker arrested

TAMPA — A registered sex offender was arrested early Saturday morning by Tampa Police in connection with a hotel worker who was attacked earlier this week, the department said.John Eckhard, 41, was arrested about 1:30 a.m. on charges of aggravated ba...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Orchestra explores spirit of Florida and the U.S. with ‘Triptych’ and ‘New World’ Symphony

Orchestra explores spirit of Florida and the U.S. with ‘Triptych’ and ‘New World’ Symphony

ST. PETERSBURG — One of the more important programs in the Florida Orchestra’s season combined Antonin Dvorak’s best known symphony with the debut of a major commission. Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9, better known as the "New World," reaches to the roots o...
Updated: 6 hours ago