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Armed Woman Goes on Shooting Spree in Corona Hospital, Wounding Nurse

August 10, 1993

CORONA, Calif. (AP) _ A woman burst into a hospital nursery and shot a worker, then was disarmed by a nurse who hugged her and told her she understood the pain she was going through.

″Looking back on it, it was probably the stupidest thing I’ve ever done,″ nurse Joan Black, 62, a Vietnam veteran, told the Press-Enterprise of Riverside County in an interview published today.

″But, I saw her and saw another victim. I saw a sick person and had to take care of her.″

Sopehia Mardress White, 31, was being held today for investigation of attempted murder and child endangerment in the attack Monday evening at Corona Regional Medical Center.

The wounded woman, Elizabeth T. Staten, 27, was reported in stable condition at the hospital. Three babies in the nursery at the time of the shooting were not harmed.

White walked into the nursery and fired six shots at Staten, then chased her to the emergency room and fired a seventh round, Capt. Larry Lewis said. He said police were investigating reports the shooting stemmed from a dispute over a man.

Black, an emergency room nurse and former Air Force major who served in Vietnam, confronted the armed woman.

″She was the telling the person who was shot, ’You took my husband, you took my kids 3/8 Prepare to die 3/8‴ Black said.

Black said she told the woman ″that I knew she had gone through a lot of pain in her life. I told her I understood pain. At that point, she said she had done a horrible thing and that she had nothing to live for.″

Black hugged the woman and put her hand over the gun to prevent it from being fired again.

″I kept my arms around her, and my hand on the gun,″ Black said. ″She gave me the gun, then she collapsed in my arms.″

Black held the woman until police arrived.

The shooting was the latest in a spate of Southern California hospital attacks over the past nine months. Previous shootings occurred at hospitals in San Bernardino, Los Angeles and Loma Linda.

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