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Nurse prevents possible tragedy at Rawson-Neal

Reported by: John Treanor
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Updated: 8/14/2014 5:54 am

LAS VEGAS (KSNV — The word hero is used all too often now a days, but this time it was warranted.

A psychiatric nurse at Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital put herself in harm's way between an armed man and a busy lobby full of patients in order to prevent a possible tragedy.

It's hard to think about what went through Chris Whalen's mind in those minutes.

On a busy Friday afternoon at 3 it was time for a shift change. Whalen was off work and in her car.

"I looked and I saw him reaching the top of the stairs," Whalen said.

That man, accompanied by a terrified family member, was about to enter the hospital when he saw Whalen in her car.

"Something told me it didn't look right, and then he just swiveled," she said.

He went to the car, she rolled up the windows and put the car in reverse, but she didn't leave. "I have to let them know something is happening, but the phones are down. The phones are down," Whalen said.

With no phones and no escape she did the only thing she could — she placed her hands on horn.

She honked until the sound of the horn was drowned out by the sound of a helicopter.

Police came and detained the attacker, but not before Whalen helped get patients out of the parking lot and then use her own car to block traffic.

"I didn't have time to be scared," she said. "I'm trained trained to think, safety, safety, safety."



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