• November 30, 2015

Officer rescues hospital patient, detains suspect

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Posted: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 9:15 am

Whether donning the Holly Springs Police uniform as he patrols the roadways or sitting by his wife’s side in civilian clothes as she undergoes rehabilitation, Ofc. Shane Ladner is always willing to uphold the law. He proved it last week after apprehending a man allegedly attempting to sexually assault a patient at a metro-Atlanta hospital.

Noble Elder, according to Atlanta Police, was arrested Jan. 15 for sexual battery and criminal trespassing after he allegedly entered an Atlanta Medical Center patient’s room and attempted to rape the elderly woman. 

Ladner was also at the hospital with his wife, Meg, who is a patient undergoing physical therapy after losing her leg when a train collided with a parade float she and her husband were riding on in Texas this past November.

“I was sleeping in Meg’s room, and all of a sudden, I heard a woman screaming,” he said. “I immediately knew that it was not something you would hear in the hospital. The sheer terror in the voice told me that something was wrong.”

Ladner said as soon as he opened the door to his wife’s room, he witnessed a woman making her way into the room next door. The woman was a nurse, whose mother was the elderly woman being attacked by Elder, according to Atlanta Police.

“She was just coming up to check on her mother, but I didn’t know that at the time,” Ladner said. 

When Ladner entered the room, he said he saw a man attempting to push his way past the nurse. The suspect’s pants, according to Ladner, were unzipped and down.

“When I saw this man with his pants in the condition that they were in, it was pretty obvious to me that there was a high probability that something sexual in nature had occurred,” he said. 

The police report was not available by press time, however, a spokesperson for the Atlanta Police Department said the nurse found Elder in her mother’s room, just starting to pull down the victim’s pants. 

Ladner’s law enforcement background came in handy, as he was able to take the suspect to the ground until the hospital’s security arrived on scene. 

“I had him on the ground in the hallway, and security was there within a minute,” he said. “I didn’t want him to get away.”

Atlanta Police arrived soon after and took Elder into custody, charging him with sexual battery, criminal trespass, as well as criminal attempt to commit rape and abuse of an elderly person.

Fulton County Jail records indicate that Elder, who has a criminal history, was not granted bond. Jail records show Elder has been booked into the Fulton County Jail four times, with charges ranging from loitering to burglary. 

The incident not only led the hospital to heighten security measures, but it also landed Ladner the title of hero — an honor he politely disagreed with. 

“I am no hero; I simply did what any man would have done,” he said. “In my opinion, true heroes are the ones that have given the ultimate sacrifice.”

While interviewing with the Ledger-News over the phone last week, a doctor entered Meg Ladner’s hospital room and could be heard thanking Ladner for his actions. The doctor said he just wanted to “shake his hand” and expressed how much he appreciated what he did. Ladner shared a similar sentiment, thanking the doctor for taking care of his wife.

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