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Parolee accused in Dallas Methodist shooting had permission to be with pregnant 'significant other'

Michael Barera
Police are investigating an "active shooter" incident at Dallas Methodist Medical Center that left two dead on Saturday.

Updated Oct. 24, 2022 at 1:01 p.m. CT

Nestor Hernandez, the parolee accused of killing two people at Methodist Dallas Medical Center, had an ankle monitor but got permission to be at the hospital Saturday.

"He was on parole with a special condition of electronic monitoring," Amanda Hernandez, the director of communications for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, told KERA in an email Sunday. "He was granted permission to be at the hospital to be with his significant other during delivery."

The TDCJ official said the prisons office of inspector general is "working with Dallas Police as they investigate."

The shooting was reported at about 11 a.m. Saturday. Hospital police, the Dallas Police Department and Dallas Fire-Rescue responded to an "active shooter call" at that time, according to a statement from Methodist Dallas.

A preliminary investigation "determined a suspect shot and killed two hospital employees," according to the statement. "A Methodist Health System Police Officer arrived on the scene, confronted the suspect, and fired his weapon at the suspect, injuring him."

Hernandez, 30, was arrested Saturday after the two Methodist Dallas employees were shot. He was taken into custody and transported to another local hospital for treatment.

"Hernandez is currently on parole for aggravated robbery and had an active ankle monitor," according to a Dallas police statement.

Dallas police said Hernandez was arrested for capital murder after the shootings.

'Going to die'

WFAA (Channel 8) reported that Hernandez had gone to the hospital to visit his girlfriend after the birth of their child.

An arrest warrant affidavit obtained by WFAA stated that Hernandez had accused his girlfriend of cheating on him, searched the room to see if anyone else was there, and then struck her in the head multiple times with a handgun.

WFAA reported that the affidavit stated Hernandez started making "ominous" calls and text messages to his family. He also allegedly warned his girlfriend that they were both "going to die today" — as well as anyone who came into the room.

The first victim was fatally shot when entering the room, WFAA reported. The second victim had been in the hallway with a hospital police officer and was shot after looking into the room. The officer then shot Hernandez in the right leg, according to the affidavit.

The Dallas County Medical Examiners Office identified one of the victims as Jacqueline Ama Pokuaa, 45. Authorities are withholding the second victim's identity because the family has not yet been notified.

Multiple felony convictions

Dallas County records reviewed by KERA show that Hernandez has been convicted on multiple felonies since 2011. Those include convictions for robbery, aggravated robbery, burglary of a habitation, and possession of a controlled substance.

Hernandez got an 8-year sentence for aggravated robbery in 2015, records show.

According to the indictment reviewed by KERA, a man and a female accomplice punched a woman "from behind in the back of the head." The man later was identified as Hernandez.

The victim "then felt the male suspect's hands around her throat and he said, 'Don't scream or I'll kill you!'"

The victim was forced inside her apartment pulled down to the ground by her hair and then struck again. She was tied up and the two suspects ransacked her apartment.

The suspects left with about $3,000 in cash from a school fundraiser and her cellphone, and they took her car.

The indictment states that the victim had a nose fracture and "an orbital wall blow out fracture to her left eye" and also had suffered cuts to her hands when she struggled to defend herself with a knife in her apartment.

Hernandez apparently avoided more serious felony charges — and perhaps longer prison sentences — at least twice after he agreed to plea agreements.

Court records reviewed by KERA appear to show that after Hernandez agreed to a plea bargain in the aggravated robbery case, "enhancements" related to his prior criminal history that could have led to a stiffer sentence may not have been applied.

The indictment mentions Hernandez' conviction for robbery in 2012 and noted that he had been committed to the Texas Youth Commission as a juvenile for "delinquent conduct constituting the felony offense of assault of a public servant."

Records show the robbery conviction in 2012 had been reduced from an aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon charge in a plea agreement.

Dallas Police investigators are assisting with the investigation.

"We will do EVERYTHING to assist in this investigation," Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia tweeted Saturday. "This is a tragedy, and an abhorrent failure of our criminal justice system."

In another tweet, Garcia had more to say about the criminal justice system.

"I’m outraged along with our community, at the lack of accountability, and the travesty of the fact that under this broken system, we give violent criminals more chances, than our victims," he wrote. "The pendulum has swung too far."

The Methodist Dallas statement described the fatal shootings as an "unimaginable tragedy."

"During this devastating time, we want to ensure our patients and employees that Methodist Dallas Medical Center is safe, and there is no ongoing threat," the statement continued.

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