October 21, 2022

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Stabbed To Death By Patient, Family Says

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: