Police say Suburban Hospital killing occurred because man was denied pay raise
Lanham man arrested for killing his boss on New Year's Day
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This story was updated at 4:30 p.m. Jan. 6, 2011.
A Lanham man stabbed his boss more than 70 times in the boiler room of Suburban Hospital on New Year's Day, Montgomery County police say.
Keith Little, 49, likely stabbed his supervisor Roosevelt Brockington Jr., 40, of Lusby, because Brockington recently did not approve a raise for Little, Police Chief J. Thomas Manger said during a press conference Thursday.
Brockington, who was a lead engineer and had worked at the hospital since August 2006, recently reprimanded Little and denied him a raise based on a performance evaluation, according to police.
Brockington began his shift at 5:15 a.m., replacing Little, according to police charging documents filed in Montgomery County District Court. Hospital surveillance video showed Little near the exit to the hospital and hospital records showed Little punched out on the time clock, according to the documents.
Brockington was on the phone with a friend around 9:45 a.m. Saturday when he was attacked, Manger said. The friend heard a man yell "Give me your money," and "you got any more." The friend heard Brockington say "that's all I got" and scream multiple times before the phone went silent.
Brockington was found by coworkers who called 911 at 10:29 a.m., police spokesman Capt. Paul Starks said.
When police responded to the hospital around 10:30 a.m. Brockington was dead, Manger said. Suburban Hospital was placed on lockdown from about 10:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m., according to officials.
Because the boiler room is a secured area, police began to investigate employees, Manger said.
On Wednesday night, a coworker saw water treated with chemicals being poured into a bucket filled with a black ski mask and gloves in a room next to the boiler room, according to court documents. When the coworker went to the bucket, Little grabbed it and said "I'll take care of this" before pouring the contents into the trash.
Little then said he needed to check his vehicle for a parking ticket and left the room. The coworker noted the items were gone, notified a supervisor, and the police were called.
Police responded to Suburban Hospital at 9:20 p.m. Wednesday, Manger said.
Little was taken into custody at the hospital Wednesday night and charged with first-degree murder at approximately 10 a.m. Thursday, Starks said. He did not know if the gloves and mask were hidden in the hospital or if Little brought them to work Wednesday.
Little told detectives that he talked with Brockington on Saturday morning and left the hospital at 5:15 a.m., according to court documents. After leaving the hospital, he drove to his sister's house in Gaithersburg and fell asleep for a few hours before helping her move to Washington, D.C.
Police reviewed Little's cell phone records and determined that his phone received incoming calls between Friday night and Saturday morning, but the phone never connected to a cellular tower, according to documents.
Investigation determined that Little's cell phone did not receive service in the boiler room. Police noted that his phone should have connected to cellular towers if he left the hospital with the phone at 5:15 a.m. The phone resumed communication with cellular towers in the District at 11:29 a.m.
Police are unsure when Little left the hospital, Starks said.
In December 2005, Little was arrested and charged with first-degree murder of a co-worker in a maintenance facility in the District, according to documents.
The motive described by Metropolitan Police was that the victim accused Little of stealing tools, according to court documents. Little was not convicted of the murder.
Little is in police custody without bail. A bond hearing is scheduled for Friday. A telephone call to Little's home was not returned Thursday.
Suburban Hospital President Brian Gragnolati gave a statement at Thursday's press conference but declined to answer any further questions.
"All evidence continues to support the fact that this incident was isolated, targeted, and specific to the individuals both of whom were hospital employees," Gragnolati said.
Phone calls to representatives with Suburban were not immediately returned Thursday.
Brockington's family released a statement Thursday asking for privacy.
"We would like to express our gratitude to the administration and staff of Suburban Hospital and to the Montgomery County Police Department," Brockington's family said in a statement. "The hospital has provided excellent support to us during this horrible ordeal. We are particularly grateful to the detectives who have so thoroughly investigated our son's murder and brought this case to closure so quickly."