AUSTIN (KXAN) — Police identified a doctor who worked at the Children’s Medical Group as the victim in a deadly SWAT standoff Tuesday night in central Austin.
Dr. Lindley Dodson was found dead inside the pediatric office after a SWAT team breached the doors of the building, ending a 6-hour standoff. She was a pediatrician at the office operated by Ascension Seton Dell Children’s Medical Center. A GoFundMe was set up for the office — it had raised more than $40,000 by Wednesday night.
She is survived by her husband, her two daughters and her son.
Dodson, 43, grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and completed her undergraduate degree in chemistry at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, where she graduated magna cum laude, her LinkedIn profile says. She attended medical school at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans.
“We are shocked at the tragic loss of Lindley, and our hearts go out to Katherine, Paul, Drew, and the entire family,” said LSU Interim President Tom Galligan. “Words fail us, but we offer our good thoughts, sympathy, and prayers to our friends and colleague.”
She completed her residency at Vanderbilt University Children’s Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee, and was certified by the American Board of Pediatrics.
She joined Children’s Medical Group’s office in 2017, according to its website. Her LinkedIn profile said she was also a partner at CMG.
Before coming to work in Austin, she was a Harvard Medical School instructor and was an urgent care doctor at Children’s Hospital Boston following her residency in Nashville. For 10 years, she worked at Dell Children’s Hospital in Austin and was named the hospital’s top pediatric doctor in 2012 and 2017.
She was named a “Rising Star” by the Texas Super Doctors for three consecutive years, 2017-2019.
Dodson’s husband and parents released a statement about her, saying they are devastated by the sudden loss.
“As a dedicated mom, wife, daughter, friend and pediatrician, she radiated light, love and joy in everything she did and with everyone she touched. She developed immediate rapport with her patients and had the unique ability to make you feel like the only person in the room. She brightened our lives and lifted us up with her laughter, which was like magic,” the statement read. “We are all better because of her. Our only comfort is knowing she is now with Jesus and all the heavenly saints who are undoubtedly already looking forward to her first costume party. We are so grateful for the outpouring of love and concern but due to the ongoing nature of this investigation and our request for privacy during this awful time, we will have no further comment.”
Others who visited a growing memorial outside the Children’s Medical Group building remembered her fondly. They held hands and prayed as many others left flowers behind.
“She was probably the happiest person I’ve ever met,” said Bridget Dickinson, a former receptionist at Children’s Medical Group. “She was such a mother figure to everybody. The world, the community and Austin, we are all going to miss her.”
Katie Sanford and Brandy Loomis used to work with Dodson at the Dell Medical Center. Now working down the street at the Pediatric Associates of Austin, they said Dodson was a mentor and recalled times she helped them grow personally and professionally.
“As a physician, you are ready to sacrifice your life and your time and your talents for people. And that’s exactly what she did. She’s a true hero,” Loomis said.
“We want everyone to know that we in the community are working so hard, the medical community, to keep her spirit alive,” Sanford said.
On Wednesday evening, a large group of doctors in their white coats gathered at the memorial.
As doctors, dermatologist Hallie McDonald said, “You’re trained on emergency protocols and active shooters and things like that but you never think it’s going to happen to you or to anyone that you know.”
Grant Powell, who lives across the street from Dodson’s clinic and has twin infants who are patients there, set up the GoFundMe for her office.
“I feel like there’s nothing I could possibly do that would make any difference, but you know, I had to try something,” Powell told KXAN.
Powell says the money donated will go directly to Children’s Medical Group, so that staff there can decide how to use it, whether that’s to pay employees during time taken off or to get together and celebrate Dodson’s life.
Multiple people replied to tweets by KXAN reporter Jody Barr, saying Dodson was their child’s doctor or that they knew her personally.
“Such a massive and heartbreaking loss for our community,” one tweet said.
Another person who tweeted said she cared for his two sons, and the news was “an absolute tragedy.”
“We are absolutely devastated and shaken,” they added.
Karen Shafrir Vladeck, an Austin lawyer and friend of Dodson, said she was an “absolute shining light,” and organized a tribute thread on Twitter for people to share their favorite memories of Dodson.
“Dr. Dodson was a light. An absolute shining light. She walked into the exam room with a broad but sympathetic smile on her face every time you were there,” she tweeted. “She made you feel like your child’s illness was the only one that mattered in that moment, even though you knew there was a line of other kids and parents waiting anxiously to see her. She always made you feel important and heard.”
Texas Rep. Lloyd Doggett said Dodson cared for two of his grandchildren and offered his condolences on Twitter.
Dell Children’s Hospital, where Dr. Lindley Dodson previously served, released a statement on Wednesday afternoon, saying: “Yesterday evening we received the tragic news that one of our former Dell Children’s hospitalists, Dr. Lindley Dodson, was killed last night. We are shocked and saddened by this news, and our thoughts and prayers are with Dr. Dodson’s family, friends and colleagues. Dr. Dodson worked for Dell Children’s for over 10 years and remained on Medical Staff at Dell Children’s when she left for private practice in 2017. Dr. Dodson was a hard-working and compassionate provider who will be greatly missed.”
The Texas Pediatric Society also released a statement, saying in part: “We have lost a caring and devoted mother, wife, colleague, and friend who will be forever missed.”