Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Stabbed To Death By Patient, Family Says

2 Min Read Published October 21, 2022
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Stabbed To Death By Patient, Family Says

On Tuesday afternoon, June Onkundi, a wife, mother, and psychiatric nurse practitioner was stabbed to death by one of her patients, James Gomes, while at work. Durham Police responded to a call at the Freedom House Recovery Center after reports of a woman stabbed.

Freedom House Recovery Center, located in Durham, North Carolina, is a non-profit halfway house and detoxification center for recovering adult alcoholics. According to their website, the mission of Freedom House since 1974 “has been committed to promote, enhance and support recovery for men, women, and children affected by mental illness, developmental disabilities and substance abuse by utilizing an evidence-based, comprehensive and person-centered approach.”

"It's very painful. We are saddened," Onkundi's brother Andrew Nyabwari said. Onkundi started working at Freedom House about three months ago but had extensive experience with the patient population. 

"To then come back and work within this mental health community, you know that just basically sees who she was," Onditi Nunda said. "She had a global perspective about (mental health). Obviously, this has now been cut short and it's very, very sad."
Onkundi, a psychiatric NP, was excited to continue her education at Duke University in the doctorate program starting in January. Gomes is currently charged with first-degree murder and is held without bail. 

A GoFundMe account has been set up for June's family. 

North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) CEO Chip Baggett released the following statement on her death:

"The North Carolina Medical Society joins people from around the state in mourning the tragic death of June Onkundi.  Our thoughts are with her family and friends as they face life without her.  June was working as a nurse practitioner when her own patient stabbed and killed her. 
Her death is a reminder of the violence in the workplace that healthcare workers face every day.  The NCMS continues to be a resource for medical professionals and strongly supports efforts to keep the workplace safe.
June’s death shines a light on the threat our members face every day.  We wish the very best for her loved ones."

The NC Nurses Association Tweeted the following statement: 

Kathleen Gaines
Kathleen Gaines
News and Education Editor

Kathleen Gaines (nee Colduvell) is a nationally published writer turned Pediatric ICU nurse from Philadelphia with over 13 years of ICU experience. She has an extensive ICU background having formerly worked in the CICU and NICU at several major hospitals in the Philadelphia region. After earning her MSN in Education from Loyola University of New Orleans, she currently also teaches for several prominent Universities making sure the next generation is ready for the bedside. As a certified breastfeeding counselor and trauma certified nurse, she is always ready for the next nursing challenge.

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