Utah man surrenders after 17-hour standoff Gunman kills one at suburban hospital NTCSO: ASSOCIATED PRESS

September 22, 1991

SANDY, Utah (AP) -- A man claiming to have explosives shot and killed a nurse's aide yesterday, then barricaded himself and nine hostages, including three infants, inside the maternity wing of a suburban hospital. He released them unharmed and was arrested more than 17 hours later.

The man, identified as Richard Worthington, a 39-year-old father of eight, began negotiating by telephone with police surrounding Alta View Hospital about 15 hours into the standoff.

Worthington told negotiators he was carrying dynamite and "would blow the place up" if police rushed the building, said police Sgt. Terry Pepper.

Police said Mr. Worthington held six adults and three infants on the top floor of a maternity wing connected to the main building by an enclosed skywalk. Police said he allowed nurses to care for infants.

Dr. Glade Curtis, an obstetrician who escaped from the maternity wing, said he performed surgery to tie off the fallopian tubes of the suspect's wife, Karen, two years before. He said Mr. Worthington had threatened him repeatedly since the surgery.

Authorities declined to say whether Mr. Worthington had been trying to kill Dr. Curtis.

Dale Wyler said that his wife, Margie, 37, a nurse with 17 years experience, was a hostage. She called him early yesterday sounding "very shaken up," he said, telling him Mr. Worthington was next to her and wanted Wyler to drive to the hospital, walk past police and talk to him.

More than 70 officers cordoned off the area and evacuated residents within three blocks east of the building in this Salt Lake City suburb of 80,000. Land to the west, north and south is vacant.

Dr. Brent Mabey, an Alta View emergency room physician who treated the victim, said a clerk ran into the hospital shortly after midnight to say a man with a shotgun had just blown out a window in the adjacent Women's Health Center.

He then took a nurse's aide, 37-year-old Karla Roth, outside and shot her, said Dr. Mabey.

When police arrived, they found a woman who had been shot in the hospital's parking lot, Dr. Mabey said.

"We got her on a stretcher and took her back into the emergency department. She did not survive," he said.

Shortly after the standoff began, police shot out lights that might have revealed the positions of special weapons teams.

Mr. Worthington's wife and the local Mormon bishop were at the scene but kept from reporters. The couple has eight children, the oldest a senior in high school and the youngest about 2.

Neighbors and friends described him as a quiet man, somewhat of a loner, with a strong work ethic and a love for his children.

"He took them everywhere, even when he went to work," said Alice Whitemore, a long-time friend who lives three doors up the street from the Worthingtons in the middle-class suburban neighborhood.

"You read in the papers about neighbors in these sorts of things saying, 'We just can't believe it happened,'" said her husband, Keith Whitemore. "That's what you have here."

Neighbor Lynn Cameron said Mr. Worthington either owns or works for Evergreen Landscape in Kearns, another Salt Lake suburb.

"He's just kind of an odd guy. He doesn't seem to communicate very well," said Jeff Parker, a neighbor across the street from the Worthingtons. "He's not a likable guy, but I never thought he would do anything like that."

Jess Gomez, a spokesman for Alta View Hospital, said the remaining 32 patients were evacuated and moved to other hospitals.

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