By EMILY R. WEST
Franklin’s Stan Hardcastle arrived at the NHC Place on Saturday expecting to pick up his 98-year-old mother.
Just recovered from hip surgery, she was ready to go home at noon. But when her son arrived to pick her up, he found Franklin Police barricading the entrance. Since then, he’s stood across the street at the corner of Mission Court and Cool Springs Boulevard.
The Franklin Police Department arrived on scene at 7:15 a.m. to investigate what appeared to be a bomb inside an employee’s car. Authorities have named a suspect, Mitchell Hunter Oakes.
Police Department spokesman Lt. Charles Warner said Oakes had a connection with the employee’s vehicle where the device was discovered. At 1:57 p.m., those waiting heard a small boom. According to the FPD Twitter, the noise was an effort to stabilize the device.
“Bomb specialists from two federal agencies, and THP continue to work to stabilize the device,” Warner said. “This is very dangerous work that requires a great deal of expertise and delicacy. No ETA on when the facility will reopen. We have two main objectives at this point: safeguard this scene, and locate our person of interest. The facility’s management team is on scene dealing with patient and family needs.”
Authorities consider Oakes armed and dangerous, and said he is wanted on a felony warrant out of Virginia.
“I keep getting bits and pieces of what’s going on,” Hardcastle said. “The bomb squad is supposedly detonating this thing in a controlled environment so everyone can get back to normal. We’ve also been told we may be stuck here until 6 p.m. I’ve talked to my mother. As you can imagine, a 98-year-old lady doesn’t like to be inconvenienced. She’s ready to leave.”
Hardcastle said the facility was on lockdown. He said his mother was sitting around the nurse’s station, and they are not allowed to reenter their rooms.
“She’s anxious to go back to her room,” he said. “She wants to get her things and go home. I am sure NHC is following every precaution they can. I am sure the police are following every precaution they can. So the only dummy in this deal is the man who left the package.”
Standing on the corner, Franklin’s Susan Cline said she wasn’t worried. She was intending to visit a family member, but has had to wait patiently.
“At this point, I am fine,” she said. “To begin with, I wasn’t sure if there was a person of interest inside the facility, but that was never the case.”
Police are still actively investigating this scene. Check back with the Franklin Home Page for updates to this story.