Crime & Courts

Columbia hospital employee assaulted in bathroom; suspect jailed

Gregory Timothy Michael
Gregory Timothy Michael

UPDATE: The suspect in a Wednesday hospital assault gave the wrong name at the time of his arrest, the Columbia Police Department said Friday. The following article has been updated to reflect that change.

A man was arrested after police say he assaulted an employee in the bathroom of a Columbia hospital and fled.

The incident happened around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday in a first-floor bathroom at Palmetto Health Baptist near the information desk, close to the Taylor Street entrance of the hospital, according to a memo sent to hospital team members, which was provided to The State newspaper.

The suspect, identified as 30-year-old Gregory Timothy Michael, punched the 69-year-old victim in the face with a closed fist, according to Columbia police spokeswoman Jennifer Timmons. He ran from the building and was later detained by hospital security on the 1300 block of Blanding Street.

As officers took Michael into custody, he refused to place his legs in the patrol car and was able to exit the vehicle, Timmons said. He was quickly apprehended and charged with third-degree assault and battery and escape. He was placed in the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.

The extent of the employee’s injuries was unclear Thursday, but officials said he received medical treatment at the hospital. Police have not yet determined a motive for the assault.

“We are sorry that this occurred in a place of healing,” Greg Gattman, chief operating officer for Palmetto Health Baptist, said in the memo to employees. “Nothing is more important than the well-being of our patients, visitors and team members. Safety is always our utmost concern. We will thoroughly review this matter and will work with Security Services to determine if any additional security measures are needed.”