A University of Utah Health Care cardiac nurse who posted an offensive online comment about Tongans has resigned.
Todd Shrum, who had worked at the hospital since May 2009, was reacting to the fatal shooting Monday at the federal courthouse in Salt Lake City of an alleged Tongan Crip Gang member, 25-year-old Siale Angilau, according to KUTV Channel 2.
The station says the comment, left on its Facebook page, stated: “Tongan Trash — Kill Them All.”
Shrum also has posted disparaging comments in the past about Muslims, blacks and Mexicans who illegally enter the United States, KUTV says.
The U. said in a news release that it is committed to providing high-quality care to all patients and discrimination of any kind is not acceptable.
“The university is also committed to freedom of speech and expression among its employees,” the release says. “However, hate speech and violent comments are unacceptable when this language enters the workplace and affects the safety and trust of patients and hospital employees.”
Shrum could not be reached for comment. He told KUTV that he is not racist.
“I meant no ill will towards the Tongan race whatsoever,” Shrum said.
Angilau was fatally wounded by a U.S. marshal when he reportedly rushed at a man on the witness stand while holding a pen or pencil. He died later at a hospital, which has not been identified by authorities.
The U. — which had placed Shrum on administrative leave before his resignation — refused to either confirm or deny that Angilau was brought to one of their hospitals for treatment of the gunshot wound.