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Boise hospital lifts lockdown after Bundy tells followers of ’emergency

St. Luke’s downtown Boise hospital was on lockdown and diverted patients to other health facilities for about an hour Tuesday afternoon after Ammon Bundy, a limited government activist and candidate for Idaho governor, put out a video message encouraging his followers to show up at the facility to protest a child protection services case. (Idaho Capital Sun)

St. Luke’s was on lockdown, diverting patients for about an hour after Ammon Bundy posted video while on trial for trespassing

St. Luke’s hospital in downtown Boise was on lockdown from about 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, due to what St. Luke’s Health System called a “security incident.”

In messages to staff, the hospital’s security team advised employees not to enter or exit the hospital due to an “external threat.”

The lockdown followed days of protests and social media campaigns over a child protection case that involves the grandson of Diego Rodriguez, an associate of Ammon Bundy. Bundy and Rodriguez have called for the infant boy to be returned to his parents.

The baby was recently hospitalized and found to be malnourished, according to news reports and public statements. The Meridian Police Department said he was hospitalized for three days, then discharged into the care of his parents on March 4.

“During a follow up appointment earlier this week, it was determined the child had again lost a significant amount of weight and when the parents canceled the next follow-up appointment and could not be located, the Meridian Police were contacted and advised this child’s condition could lead to severe injury or even death if not treated,” Meridian PD said in a news release Saturday.

The baby’s mother canceled a follow-up appointment with the child’s pediatric provider, who notified law enforcement. Health care providers are required under law to notify authorities when they believe a child is in danger.

Police and child welfare staff made multiple attempts to reach the parents and have them bring in the baby for another exam, the release said.

Bundy, who is running for Idaho governor as an independent candidate, was arrested Friday on a charge of misdemeanor trespassing at St. Luke’s Meridian Medical Center, where the child had been hospitalized.

Bundy was a short drive from the St. Luke’s Boise hospital Tuesday, at the Ada County Courthouse, standing trial on trespassing charges that stemmed from his refusal to follow rules of the Idaho Statehouse.

In a video he shared on social media, Bundy claimed he had learned of a plan to move Rodriguez’s grandson from the hospital to a foster home while Bundy and his supporters were preoccupied with Bundy’s trial.

“Everybody go back to the hospital, go back to the hospital, and begin, you know, making noise and … I don’t know, we’re gonna have to straighten this out, but we need to go back there and get this straightened out,” Bundy said in the video. “So anybody who’s at the courtroom, please go to the hospital. Anybody who is out there (outside the courthouse), please go to the hospital. This is an emergency.”

St. Luke’s announced around 3 p.m. that it had lifted the lockdown.

“During the lockdown and divert, the St. Luke’s Emergency Department was closed to patients who were temporarily asked to seek care at alternate providers in the community,” the announcement said. “Additionally, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) were temporarily diverted to other hospitals. With the safety of patients and staff as its priority, St. Luke’s is grateful to local law enforcement for their support and response to today’s security incident.”

The Idaho Capital Sun is a nonprofit news organization delivering accountability reporting on state government, politics and policy in the Gem state. As longtime Idahoans ourselves, we understand the challenges and opportunities facing Idaho. We provide in-depth reporting on legislative and state policy, health care, tax policy, the environment, Idaho’s explosive population growth and more. Our mission is relentless investigative journalism that sheds light on how decisions in Boise and beyond are made and how they affect everyday Idahoans. We aim to tell untold stories and provide data, context and analysis on the issues that matter most throughout the state. The Capital Sun is part of States Newsroom, a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit supported by grants and a coalition of donors and readers. We retain full editorial independence.