Woman who allegedly falsely reported three gunmen at hospital bound over

Becky Campbell • Jan 28, 2013 at 10:22 PM

A Jonesborough woman accused of faking a security risk by reporting three gunman at the Johnson City Medical Center in December planned on duplicating the Newtown, Conn., shooting was bound over to a grand jury on the charge after a hearing Monday.

Sherry P. Morgan, 28, 107 E. College St., is charged in two cases from Dec. 27 — shoplifting in one and filing a false police report and resisting a stop in the second.

The shoplifting incident happened just a couple of hours before Morgan allegedly called the Med Center from her cell phone while in an emergency department bathroom. She was transported to the hospital after complaining about chest pains following her arrest on the shoplifting charge.

A loss prevention officer from JCPenney testified at the hearing that he detained Morgan after she left the store with about $119 worth of merchandise she didn’t purchase.

Johnson City Police Officer Michael Howard testified that after he arrived at the store, Morgan complained of chest pains so he called for EMS to check her out. After EMS arrived, Morgan was transported to the hospital, he said.

A hospital receptionist testified that shortly before 7 p.m. she received a call to the hospital from a woman who said she had just dropped three men armed with assault weapons off at the ER and “they were going to do at the Medical Center what had been done at the school.”

The receptionist believed the woman was referring to the Newtown, Conn., shooting on Dec. 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School that killed 26 children and adults.

Hospital security guards locked down the facility until police arrived. Together they conducted a sweep of the building to ensure there were no armed intruders on site.

Further into the investigation, officers determine the number from which the call was made was associated with the cell phone Morgan had with her.

Officer Toma Sparks testified he had transported Morgan to the jail when Officer Aubrey McElroy called the number hospital staff had given him in reference to the phoned-in threat. When he did that, the cell phone Sparks had taken from Morgan rang. He answered it and McElroy was on the other end.

Morgan is scheduled to appear in Criminal Court on the charges March 11. She’s being held on a $7,000 bond, but also has pending probation violations against her as well.

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