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Hospital Gunman Kills 1, Wounds 5

February 6, 1998

WASHINGTON (AP) _ A professional boxer with a promising career who recently was diagnosed with cancer died of gunshot wounds in the lobby of the hospital where he was being treated for the illness.

Police said the victim seemed to be targeted, although five others also were wounded.

The gunman waited in the lobby of the Washington Cancer Institute until the victim, Reuben Bell, 24, an outpatient at the institute, arrived about 11 a.m Thursday. The gunman then began shooting, police said.

``It appears the deceased was the intended target,″ said police spokesman Sgt. Joe Gentile. The gunman ``stood over his intended victim and fired multiple times.″

Bell, who lived in Washington, was a promising middleweight fighter who had been diagnosed with colon cancer Jan. 4. He had won 13 of his 15 professional bouts but lost his last one, a nationally televised fight with former world champion Simon Brown on Sept. 12.

Bell, the subject of a feature story in The Washington Post on Saturday, had been acquitted last spring of a first-degree murder charge.

Among those suffering minor injuries in the shooting were a 77-year-old volunteer who was shot in the leg and a 74-year-old patient who suffered a graze wound to the head.

The institute is on the campus of the 907-bed Washington Hospital Center near Howard and Catholic universities in the city’s Northwest quadrant.

An armed hospital security guard was within 100 feet of the shooting but did not have time to react, officials said.

Hospital President Ken Samet said the facility had already begun reviewing security measures after the Jan. 13 slaying of 50-year-old Sheryl Crandell, an administrator at Prince George’s County Hospital Center in nearby suburban Maryland.

``This is not a lockup,″ Samet said. ``This is not the Pentagon. ... Hospitals by definition have to have open access to treat patients.″

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