MEDIA, PA, July 25, 2014 — A psychiatric patient showed up for his appointment at a Pennsylvania medical complex on Thursday about an hour early and was visibly agitated.
While meeting with his case worker Barbara Hunt and psychiatrist, Dr. Lee Silverman, patient Richard Plotts was once again upset and ranting about gun control and policy. He then pulled a handgun from his waistband and shot at the medical professionals until Dr. Silverman pull out his own weapon and fired back.
Dr. Silverman struck Plotts several times while emptying his weapon, but not before Plotts killed caseworker Hunt with a shot to the face and wounded Silverman with bullets that grazed his temple and hit his hand.
Plotts had been committed in mental health facilities at least three times and had had at least four gun arrests, along with assault and drug charges.
One of the policies that Plotts had complained about was that the hospital does not allow anyone except law enforcement officers to carry firearms on the campus.
Mercy Health System spokesperson declined to comment on the fact that Silverman was armed at work, but on Friday the hospital released a statement in support of Dr. Silverman, expressing gratitude for his “brave and difficult action”. The hospital clarified that Silverman is still a full member of the medical staff and they are looking forward to his return.
Silverman reported to police that he had been sitting at his desk with a computer monitor between him and Plotts when the patient pulled the weapon and immediately shot and Killed Ms. Hunt.
The doctor was able to duck down behind his desk and pull his own weapon out of his pocket.
Plotts survived his gunshot wounds and subsequent surgery and remained in stable condition according to police. They expect to charge him with the murder of Barbara Hunt along with additional charges at his hospital bedside.
Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan believes that Dr. Silverman and not Ms. Hunt was the actual target of the rampage.
Whelan also believes that if the doctor had not had his own weapon available, others throughout the hospital would also have been harmed or killed, as 39 unspent bullets were discovered on Plotts when he was taken down.
Fellow employees of the hospital had called 911 after they had heard arguing and had peaked inside of the room where they saw Plott with a handgun.
Dr. Silverman is reported as recuperating at home on Friday.
The Associated Press assisted in this article.