Emergency situation at UK hospital caused by armed man, ended without incident

An officer lays down a cord during an emergency situation on Thursday, March 25, 2021, at UK Chandler Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Natalie Parks

Law enforcement officials arrested an armed man at UK’s Chandler Hospital following a bomb scare that sparked an emergency alert and hours-long police search.

UK police received a tip the morning of March 25, 2021, from Versailles police that the suspect, Versailles resident Bryan Carroll, may be armed and dangerous and attempt to enter the hospital. 

Carroll, 44, did enter through the hospital’s emergency room and visited a family member. UK police apprehended Carroll upon his exit from the hospital and found he was dressed in body armor and had firearms on his person. 

“No one was injured. There were no injuries,” UK police chief Joe Monroe told media at a 2:30 briefing, following the all-clear on the site.

Carroll was booked into Fayette County Detention Center Thursday afternoon and charged with 14 offenses, including possession of firearms.

Suspected explosive devices were found in Carroll’s vehicle, a Honda CR-V, Monroe said. A later announcement from UK said police found two suspected explosive devices.

Bomb squad officers in armor, bomb-sniffing dogs and a bomb disposal robot were alternately deployed from 10:30 a.m. on Thursday morning to 2:00 in the afternoon as law enforcement worked to clear the area.

Monroe said rumors that Carroll took hostages inside the emergency room were unsubstantiated.

“That’s completely false,” Monroe said. “There was no no one was in danger at any time. This was a very quick response and takedown.”

Following the incident, law enforcement officials surrounded Carroll’s address in Versailles. As of 8:00 p.m. Thursday night, officials were waiting for a search warrant to enter the house.

FBI spokesperson Katie Anderson said the FBI and ATF were drafting a joint warrant, but that the document needed the signature of a federal judge.

Anderson said she was “fairly certain” that Carroll was not on the FBI’s radar prior to Thursday’s events.

According to a media release from UK, the police first confirmed Carroll’s presence with security camera footage.

An emergency alert issued by UK at 10:59 a.m. urged students to avoid the hospital. Law enforcement closed down Limestone from Cooper to Conn Terrace, redirecting traffic around the area.

UK students receiving emergency alerts reacted with concern to the now-resolved crisis, but some said the messages were vague and uninformative for students seeking updates on the situation.

FBI and ATF offices responded to the emergency situation with units.

FBI spokesperson Sara Anderson said agents from the resident site in Lexington were on the scene within minutes of the call from UK police and responded with bomb technicians.

Lexington’s fire department also responded to the scene, and at one point in the afternoon two firemen donned hazmat suits for a final round of searching with the bomb disposal unit.

As of Thursday afternoon, there was no known motive behind the incident.

Monroe said hospital administration was able to secure the lobby and continue normal operations in the rest of the hospital.

“We did divert some of our healthcare patients coming in to other hospitals, which is a standard protocol,” Monroe said.

Investigations from multiple agencies are ongoing, according to a media release from UK. Because the situation unfolded on the university’s campus, campus police took the lead on the arrest and called in other agencies.

Monroe did not comment on the potential harm Carroll could have done if not taken into custody.

“I think we took an individual that could be deemed as armed and dangerous into custody very quickly, efficiently, without doing harm to anyone, including himself,” Monroe said.

UK issued an all-clear alert to students at 3:05 p.m. and the surrounding roads were reopened to traffic.

The incident followed recent mass shootings in Atlanta, Georgia and Boulder, Colorado that put the nation on watch for escalating violence.

“That’s something that officers across the country are always preparing for,” Monroe said.