A New Orleans man shot and killed himself in a Baton Rouge hospital Saturday morning after security guards detained him for kidnapping a pregnant woman he brought to the hospital, just hours after an attempted kidnapping of another woman.
Gary Zarders — a 29-year-old who’s also gone by the name Garry Saxton — kidnapped a 28-year-old woman at gunpoint on Wilton Drive in New Orleans early Saturday morning, New Orleans Police Department spokesman Aaron Looney said in a news release.
While driving to Baton Rouge, the woman complained of complications related to her pregnancy. Zarders brought her to the Bluebonnet location of Baton Rouge General Medical Center about 5 a.m. Saturday, said Sgt. Don Coppola Jr., a Baton Rouge police spokesman.
Once she was away from Zarders, the woman told hospital staff she had been kidnapped, Coppola said.
Police had not yet arrived when hospital security guards found Zarders in a waiting room, where they searched and handcuffed him, Coppola said. Zarders had hidden a handgun in a chair in the room, which he managed to reach after being handcuffed, Coppola said.
“A short time after, he pulled a gun out and took his own life,” Coppola said.
No patients or visitors were in the waiting room when Zarders shot himself, Baton Rouge General spokeswoman Meghan Parrish said.
“The safety of our patients and visitors is our highest priority,” a statement from the hospital says. “We are proud of our extraordinary team for their swift action in a dangerous situation.”
The victim was not hurt. It was not immediately clear whether Zarders, 1473 N. Roman St., New Orleans, was in any kind of relationship with the pregnant woman who was kidnapped.
Baton Rouge police are investigating the incident at the hospital. The New Orleans Police Department is investigating the two kidnapping incidents, the first of which happened shortly after 10:30 p.m. Friday on Baccich Street in New Orleans.
In the first kidnapping incident, Looney said, a woman told police she had gone to pick up Zarders to take him to the airport. Zarders produced a handgun while in the woman’s SUV and threatened to kidnap her, Looney said.
The woman was able to escape and went to a nearby house for help, and Zarders drove away in her vehicle, Looney said.