Man facing attempted murder, assault by strangulation charges after attack in North Carolina emergency room

Published 9:59 am Friday, January 21, 2022

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North Carolina authorities said a man choked a hospital worker unconscious and tried to snap another employee’s neck during a rampage inside an emergency room earlier this week.

Rothwell Jacob Simmons, 24, has been charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder and two counts of assault by strangulation, according to the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office. Simmons was arrested at New Hanover Regional Medical Center after Tuesday’s attack. His bond was set at $7.5 million, news outlets reported.

According to WECT-TV, Simmons appeared in court on Wednesday and, when asked if he wanted to hire his own attorney, Simmons told the judge, “I’m not sure man, I don’t know what the hell got into me.”

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An attorney who was later assigned to Simmons was not immediately available for comment on Thursday.

According to an arrest warrant, Simmons threw the first victim on the ground, choking her until she became unconscious. He also tried to snap the second victim’s neck, leaving the woman with neck injuries and contusions as he strangled her, officials said.

A spokesperson for Novant Health confirmed the attack, but declined to reveal the extent of the victims’ injuries. The spokesperson also declined to say whether there were any connections between Simmons and the victims. Officials have not said what may have provoked the attack.