crime

Suspect Pleads Not Guilty in Attack on Nurse at Bus Stop

Sandra Shells, 70, was killed Jan. 13 in an unprovoked attack as she was waiting for her bus ride to her job at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center.

Sandra Shells is pictured in this undated photo.
Family Photo

A man accused of killing a 70-year-old nurse who was waiting at a bus stop for her ride to work when she was attacked pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a murder charge. 

Kerry Bell, 48, is charged in the unprovoked Jan. 13 attack that killed Sandra Shells, who was waiting to for a ride to her job at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center. She was struck at about 5:15 a.m. near Vignes Street and Cesar Chavez Avenue, near Union Station.

Shells struck her head on the ground when she fell. She died three days later at the hospital where she had worked for nearly four decades, developing a bond with co-workers in the toughest of times.  

Grieving co-workers held a vigil outside the hospital for the beloved nurse. 

Bell was arrested about 1 1/2 hours after the attack. He was jailed on $2 million bond. 

His next court date is May 26 when there will be a hearing to determine whether there’s enough evidence for him to stand trial.

In January, LAC+USC Medical Center announced a memorial fund to benefit the Shells' family. The Sandra Shells Memorial Fund will also help other families who have been affected by violence. 

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“We lost a very kind, caring, inspirational nurse,” said nurse Terri Thompson, who organized the vigil and knew Shells for more than 30 years. “She was just such an asset to our hospital. “

Colleagues talked about what was lost when 70-year-old Sandra Shells was killed at a bus stop near Union Station. Toni Guinyard reports for Today in LA on Wednesday Jan. 19, 2022.

Hospital officials noted that Shells would often arrive early in the morning before her shift so she could sit in the locker room and read her Bible. Another co-worker said she would often bring extra clothes in case someone less fortunate needed them. 

“LAC+USC Medical Center family is overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support received in the wake of Nurse Sandra Shells' passing,'' according to a hospital statement. ``We are grateful to those who have paid tribute to Ms. Shells by extending their condolences, sending flower arrangements, and posting heartfelt messages on social media. We appreciate your sentiments and we thank you for sharing in our sadness.''

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