Texas murder-suicide suspect left job, moved to Austin to be with family after grim diagnosis, friends say

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People who knew Bharat Narumanchi, the doctor whom police say fatally shot an Austin pediatrician before purportedly turning the gun on himself, said they believe the terminally ill man had returned to the Texas city to be close to his family after learning of the grim diagnosis, according to recent reports.

Narumanchi, 43, left Santa Ana, Calif., and his job at Paramount Care Medical Group and moved closer to family in Austin approximately six months ago, after learning he had terminal cancer, former colleague Dr. H. Joseph Khan told the USA Today Network.

“The main reason he left is he was suffering from this illness and he wanted to be close to his family,” Khan reportedly said, later adding: “And he said when he got better he was going to come back.”

A spokesperson for the Narumanchi family did not immediately respond on Friday to Fox News’ request seeking comment.

Bharat Narumanchi (handout)

On Thursday, the rep said the family likely would not be speaking publicly beyond a statement shared the night before.

“We, the parents of Dr. Bharat Kumar Narumanchi, wish to extend our most sincere condolences and most fervent prayers to the family, friends and colleagues of Dr. Lindley Dodson,” the parents’ statement read, in part. “We share your grief for a life so senselessly cut short. We don’t understand our son’s motives or actions but feel this time is best spent remembering Dr. Dodson and her contributions to this world.”

Speaking to USA Today Network, Khan said Narumanchi had worked at the California medical office for under a year.

He added that he was “very, very shocked” about Tuesday’s news and said Narumanchi “does not look like a serial killer.”

“I read on the internet that he had a gun. I think he’s not that type,” Khan continued. “I don’t think he would hurt anybody. I’d feel safe talking to him.”

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    The family of Dr. Katherine Lindley Dodson, who was killed in a murder-suicide Tuesday, shared this photo.(Family of Dr. Katherine Lindley Dodson)

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Austin Police Department (APD) investigators are still working to determine why Narumanchi targeted Children’s Medical Group pediatrician Dodson late Tuesday afternoon when he walked into the West 35 Street Office and took people hostage.

Four of the hostages — all of whom were adult employees — were able to get out, either by escaping or being released by Narumanchi, police said Wednesday. Dodson was unable to escape.

Narumanchi had applied — and was turned down — for a volunteer position at the firm just a week earlier, police said.

Police said he encountered Dodson and other doctors during the previous visit, though police do not yet know why he targeted Dodson.


Dr. Katherine Lindley Dodson is survived by her husband and three children. (Nick Higman) 
(Nick Higman)

Narumanchi had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer and “was only given weeks to live,” Austin Police Lt. Jeff Greenwalt said.

“We feel like his terminal cancer probably played a large part in whatever it was that occurred in his life and what was happening yesterday,” Greenwalt said. “We don’t know exactly why he chose to take these actions or target this particular business. So we’re asking if anybody is as friends with either Dr. Dodson or Dr. Narumanchi, knows why he may have wanted to come to this particular business or knows what may have been going on in his life … Please call out to the Austin Police Department tip line.”

Dodson’s family said in a statement Wednesday that they “are beyond devastated at the tragic, sudden and senseless loss of our beloved Lindley.”


“As a dedicated mom, wife, daughter, friend and pediatrician, she radiated light, love and joy in everything she did and with everyone she touched. She developed immediate rapport with her patients and had the unique ability to make you feel like the only person in the room,” her family said. “We are so grateful for the outpouring of love and concern but due to the ongoing nature of this investigation and our request for privacy during this awful time, we will have no further comment.”

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Fox News’ Paul Best contributed to this report.

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