A Pennsylvania mother who rushed to the hospital after her son was shot in the chest was arrested in a chaotic scene after staff refused to let family members inside as the building was on lockdown.
Cheirha Rankins, from York, said she was denied a final visit with her 18-year-old dying son, Nylik Moore, on Tuesday afternoon.
"I was no more than three minutes behind [the ambulance]. ... I thought he could still be alive," she told the York Dispatch. "But I was told I had to stay outside."
The hospital, which later apologized to Moore's family for their treatment, was on lockdown, as that is procedure after a victim of violent crime is admitted. It's unclear if Moore was the victim that had caused the lockdown.
As family members tried to gain access to the hospital to see Moore, Rankins was detained by police and arrested for a disorderly charge — although, this was later dropped.
Rankins denied anyone was being disorderly.
"All we were doing was crying and moaning," she told the York Dispatch.
“They had us sitting out there for a whole two hours. We didn’t see my brother," Markai Rankins, Nylik's little brother, told FOX 43.
"I am just frustrated and I understand why the public and media are frustrated at not having all the answers," York City Mayor Michael Helfrich told BuzzFeed News.
Video from the scene shows officers detaining a 17-year-old girl and someone yelling at police "this is fucking racist."
Moore, Rankins, and several of the grieving people shown in the video are black.
Helfrich noted that an investigation into the actions of all people involved would take place, and will examine if race was a factor in the treatment of the victim's family and friends.
"Obviously there is no bigoted or prejudiced action that is acceptable from our police department, and as a representative of York City, I will say the same of the hospital staff. Absolutely unacceptable," said Helfrich.
A police officer holding a cartridge of what appears to be pepper spray can be seen shouting at family members and friends waiting outside the emergency department, "Get back or you are going to be arrested."
Four people, including Rankins, were arrested and given citations, reported the York Dispatch. The police then withdrew the citations.
"The hospital did acknowledge they feel they made an error," said Mayor Helfrich. He said he is bringing together the York Police Department, County Coroners Office and the hospital "to create some policies to make sure every individual and every family got treated the same way."
Moore was shot around 5 p.m. local time and declared dead at 5:38 p.m. Even after his death, Rankins was not allowed to enter the hospital, she said.
York Hospital released a statement apologizing for the incident:
We have talked to the family to offer our condolences and to sincerely apologize for what occurred Tuesday night. We also have offered to meet with them at their earliest convenience to discuss the issue and hear their concerns in person. These are our patients and our neighbors, and we’re deeply sorry for the pain they’re experiencing.
On Tuesday evening, our clinicians and staff were working to treat multiple trauma patients. Our hospital emergency department was placed on lockdown — which is a standard safety measure we initiate when our hospital treats someone who has been a victim of violence. During this time, a number of individuals attempted to gain access to the emergency department and became disruptive. Multiple law enforcement agencies, led by the York City Police Department, responded to ensure the security of our hospital and to protect the safety of our patients, staff and visitors. We extend our sincere appreciation and thanks to those responding agencies.