70-Year-Old Nurse Killed After Random 'Violent' Attack at Bus Stop in Los Angeles: Police

Sandra Shells, a nurse who “unselfishly dedicated her life to caring for others,” died after being allegedly attacked while on her way to work

LAC+USC Medical Center
Photo: google maps

The medical community is mourning the loss of one of their own.

Sandra Shells, a 70-year-old nurse who "unselfishly dedicated her life to caring for others in their time of need," died after being attacked while waiting at a bus stop in downtown L.A. on Jan. 13, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said in a news release.

A man named Kerry Bell, 48, was charged with one count of murder in connection to the crime.

Per the news release, Bell is "accused of attacking and striking Shells at a bus stop on Cesar Chavez Avenue and Vignes Street." Shells, who was on her way to County USC Medical Center where she worked as a registered nurse, fell backward after allegedly being struck by Bell and hit her head on the ground.

Shells was taken to a local hospital, where she died three days after the attack.

"Sandra Shells will forever be remembered for her compassionate care and unmatched dedication to her patients and her community throughout her 38-year career at LAC+USC," LAC + USC Medical Center said in a statement sent to PEOPLE.

"Sandra worked tirelessly and selflessly to keep her patients safe and healthy and will always be remembered as a 'kind, compassionate and giving nurse' with a 'helpful and thoughtful nature' who was a favorite amongst colleagues and patients," the statement added. "There will never be enough words to express our gratitude for her tremendous work and dedication."

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"To lose such a valuable member of our community is tragic and my office will hold accountable the person responsible for her death," District Attorney Gascón said.

"A tragic and senseless murder directly tied to the failure of this Nation's mental health resources," Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore wrote in a tweet on Sunday. "We can and must do better. This victim lived her life for others. We are falling short."

LAPD Captain E. Morales also issued her condolences on Twitter, posting two photos on Monday from Shells' memorial at the hospital where she was employed.

"​​Today, LAPD Central Area delivered a floral arrangement to LAUSCMC Staff in memory of ER Nurse Sandra Shells, who was violently punched, knocked to the ground and passed away, a senseless VIOLENT crime," she wrote, adding, "RIP."

According to ABC7, the attack was "random" and officials told the outlet that Bell — who is reportedly homeless — was found sleeping a short distance from the bus stop where the incident occurred.

Bell has one prior arrest in L.A. as well as multiple prior arrests in several other states, authorities said, per ABC7.

One of Shells' neighbors described her as a "very hard worker" who mostly kept to herself. "I think her whole job, her whole life, was just helping other people," Liz Anderson told the outlet. "A very caring person that just loved everybody, and I know that this community will really, she's just going to be missed."

The case remains under investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department.

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