Statement from the Dean regarding death of MSW graduate

Monday, Oct 24, 2022

By Dean Scott Ryan
School of Social Work


Dear alumni, students, faculty, and staff,

With deepest regrets, I must inform you of the loss of one of our own.

Jacqueline Ama Pokuaa, a 2019 UTA Master of Social Work graduate and her colleague Annette (Katie) Flowers, a nurse, were shot and killed while working at Methodist Dallas Medical Center Saturday, Oct. 22.

Our sincerest condolences go out to the family members, friends, and colleagues of Jacqueline and Annette, as well as others who have been harmed by this senseless violence.

Jacqueline, who completed her MSW specializing in Mental Health and Substance Misuse, was a Social Work case worker at the medical center.

Jacqueline is remembered fondly by her co-workers, colleagues, and former classmates and professors.  Associate Professor of Practice Kiva Harper remembers teaching Jacqueline in two classes.  “I had Jackie as a student in two classes. She was an excellent student and was always concerned about doing well in her classes,” wrote Prof. Harper in an email. 

“I was saddened to hear about her tragic death,” Prof. Harper added.

Jacqueline and her co-worker upheld the highest ideals of service while trying to protect one of their patients.

According to various news sources, Nestor Hernandez, the alleged shooter, was at the hospital visiting his girlfriend who had given birth to their child when he began acting erratic, pulled out a handgun and began hitting his girlfriend. When Jacqueline entered the hospital room, she was shot and killed by Hernandez who moments later shot Annette. Hernandez was shot by a police officer and taken to another hospital for treatment.

As Social Workers, it is our responsibility to protect individuals and families and serve the community as best as we can in a variety of unique circumstances. Often times this puts us in risky situations when people are at their most vulnerable.

More work must be done to protect Social Workers, health care workers and other community providers from dangerous and life-threatening situations in the workplace.

In memory of Jacqueline, we will remain committed to our mission of social justice and educating future Social Workers who will help others dealing with violence and trauma in their lives.

If you or someone you know needs helps because of Domestic or Intimate Partner Violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or National Dating Abuse Helpline at 1-866-331-9474.

With a traumatic loss, such as this one, students may find it helpful to speak with a counselor. UTA Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is available to provide support. Crisis counselors are available for same-day appointments on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Appointments are available in-person and through telehealth options. Call 817-272-3671 or 8917-272-2771. CAPS is located in Ransom Hall, Room 303 and at the Maverick Activity Center, Room 212.

The MAVS Talk 24 Hour crisis line is also available for support 817-272-TALK (8255).

Ensuring the safety of our public is a responsibility that belongs to everyone.

On behalf of the UTA School of Social Work’s alumni, students, faculty, and staff please join me in expressing our deepest sympathies to everyone who loved Jaqueline and her co-worker Katie and everyone they loved.

MSW Graduate Jacqueline Ama Pokuaa

Jacqueline “Jackie” Pokuaa
Celebration of Life
Saturday, Nov. 19 at 10 a.m.
Crossroads Christian Church
6450 - Texas Highway 360
Grand Prairie, Texas 75052

Candle Vigil in memory of Methodist Hospital shooting victim and UTA MSW graduate, Jacqueline Ama Pokuaa


Sincerely and with deep regrets,

Dean Scott Ryan

Scott D. Ryan
Dean and Professor
School of Social Work
The University of Texas at Arlington