Clear
40°
Clear
Hi 58° | Lo 35°

Doctor fired back at gunman in hospital attack

  • A hospital worker views police activity near the scene of a shooting at a wellness center attached to Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa., on Thursday, July 24, 2014. A doctor grazed by gunfire from a patient who had entered his office in a suburban hospital's psychiatric unit stopped him by returning fire with his own gun and injuring him, authorities said. (AP Photo)

    A hospital worker views police activity near the scene of a shooting at a wellness center attached to Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa., on Thursday, July 24, 2014. A doctor grazed by gunfire from a patient who had entered his office in a suburban hospital's psychiatric unit stopped him by returning fire with his own gun and injuring him, authorities said. (AP Photo)

  • Hospital workers leave the scene of a shooting Thursday, July 24, 2014,  at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa. Police in suburban Philadelphia are investigating a shooting at the hospital campus and say they have reports people have been injured and a suspect is in custody. (AP Photo)

    Hospital workers leave the scene of a shooting Thursday, July 24, 2014, at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa. Police in suburban Philadelphia are investigating a shooting at the hospital campus and say they have reports people have been injured and a suspect is in custody. (AP Photo)

  • An officer points his weapon near the scene of a shooting Thursday, July 24, 2014,  at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa. Police in suburban Philadelphia are investigating a shooting at the hospital campus and say they have reports people have been injured and a suspect is in custody. (AP Photo)

    An officer points his weapon near the scene of a shooting Thursday, July 24, 2014, at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa. Police in suburban Philadelphia are investigating a shooting at the hospital campus and say they have reports people have been injured and a suspect is in custody. (AP Photo)

  • Investigators work the scene of a shooting Thursday, July 24, 2014, at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa. A shooting at the suburban Philadelphia hospital campus has killed one worker and injured two other people. Prosecutor Jack Whelan says one of the injured is the gunman. (AP Photo)

    Investigators work the scene of a shooting Thursday, July 24, 2014, at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa. A shooting at the suburban Philadelphia hospital campus has killed one worker and injured two other people. Prosecutor Jack Whelan says one of the injured is the gunman. (AP Photo)

  • A hospital worker views police activity around the scene of a shooting Thursday, July 24, 2014,  at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa. Police in suburban Philadelphia are investigating a shooting at the hospital campus and say they have reports people have been injured and a suspect is in custody. (AP Photo)

    A hospital worker views police activity around the scene of a shooting Thursday, July 24, 2014, at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa. Police in suburban Philadelphia are investigating a shooting at the hospital campus and say they have reports people have been injured and a suspect is in custody. (AP Photo)

  • Hospital workers view police activity at the scene of a shooting Thursday, July 24, 2014,  at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa. Police in suburban Philadelphia are investigating a shooting at the hospital campus and say they have reports people have been injured and a suspect is in custody. (AP Photo)

    Hospital workers view police activity at the scene of a shooting Thursday, July 24, 2014, at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa. Police in suburban Philadelphia are investigating a shooting at the hospital campus and say they have reports people have been injured and a suspect is in custody. (AP Photo)

  • An officer directs traffic near the scene of a shooting Thursday, July 24, 2014, at a wellness center attached to Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa. A doctor grazed by gunfire from a patient who had entered his office in a suburban hospital's psychiatric unit stopped him by returning fire with his own gun and injuring him, authorities said. (AP Photo)

    An officer directs traffic near the scene of a shooting Thursday, July 24, 2014, at a wellness center attached to Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa. A doctor grazed by gunfire from a patient who had entered his office in a suburban hospital's psychiatric unit stopped him by returning fire with his own gun and injuring him, authorities said. (AP Photo)

  • An officer stands guard near the scene of a shooting Thursday, July 24, 2014, at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa. A doctor grazed by gunfire from a patient who had entered his office in a suburban hospital's psychiatric unit stopped him by returning fire with his own gun and injuring him, authorities said. (AP Photo)

    An officer stands guard near the scene of a shooting Thursday, July 24, 2014, at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa. A doctor grazed by gunfire from a patient who had entered his office in a suburban hospital's psychiatric unit stopped him by returning fire with his own gun and injuring him, authorities said. (AP Photo)

  • Police try to stop a woman wielding a cane from hitting a woman supporting Israel in its war with Hamas, not pictured, during a rally at John F. Kennedy Plaza, also known as Love Park, in Philadelphia on Wednesday, July 23, 2014. (AP Photo)

    Police try to stop a woman wielding a cane from hitting a woman supporting Israel in its war with Hamas, not pictured, during a rally at John F. Kennedy Plaza, also known as Love Park, in Philadelphia on Wednesday, July 23, 2014. (AP Photo)

  • A police officer carries his weapon near the scene of a shooting at the Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa. on Thursday, July 24, 2014. A prosecutor said a gunman opened fire inside the psychiatric unit leaving one hospital employee dead and a second injured before being critically wounded himself. (AP Photo)

    A police officer carries his weapon near the scene of a shooting at the Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa. on Thursday, July 24, 2014. A prosecutor said a gunman opened fire inside the psychiatric unit leaving one hospital employee dead and a second injured before being critically wounded himself. (AP Photo)

  • A hospital worker embraces a woman near the scene of a shooting at the Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa. on Thursday, July 24, 2014. A prosecutor said a gunman opened fire inside the psychiatric unit leaving one hospital employee dead and a second injured before being critically wounded himself. (AP Photo)

    A hospital worker embraces a woman near the scene of a shooting at the Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa. on Thursday, July 24, 2014. A prosecutor said a gunman opened fire inside the psychiatric unit leaving one hospital employee dead and a second injured before being critically wounded himself. (AP Photo)

  • People watch police near the scene of a shooting at the Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa. on Thursday, July 24, 2014. A prosecutor said a gunman opened fire inside the psychiatric unit leaving one hospital employee dead and a second injured before being critically wounded himself. (AP Photo)

    People watch police near the scene of a shooting at the Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa. on Thursday, July 24, 2014. A prosecutor said a gunman opened fire inside the psychiatric unit leaving one hospital employee dead and a second injured before being critically wounded himself. (AP Photo)

  • An officer walks near the scene of a shooting Thursday, July 24, 2014, at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa. A shooting at a suburban Philadelphia hospital campus has killed one worker and injured two other people. (AP Photo)

    An officer walks near the scene of a shooting Thursday, July 24, 2014, at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa. A shooting at a suburban Philadelphia hospital campus has killed one worker and injured two other people. (AP Photo)

  • A hospital worker views police activity near the scene of a shooting at a wellness center attached to Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa., on Thursday, July 24, 2014. A doctor grazed by gunfire from a patient who had entered his office in a suburban hospital's psychiatric unit stopped him by returning fire with his own gun and injuring him, authorities said. (AP Photo)
  • Hospital workers leave the scene of a shooting Thursday, July 24, 2014,  at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa. Police in suburban Philadelphia are investigating a shooting at the hospital campus and say they have reports people have been injured and a suspect is in custody. (AP Photo)
  • An officer points his weapon near the scene of a shooting Thursday, July 24, 2014,  at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa. Police in suburban Philadelphia are investigating a shooting at the hospital campus and say they have reports people have been injured and a suspect is in custody. (AP Photo)
  • Investigators work the scene of a shooting Thursday, July 24, 2014, at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa. A shooting at the suburban Philadelphia hospital campus has killed one worker and injured two other people. Prosecutor Jack Whelan says one of the injured is the gunman. (AP Photo)
  • A hospital worker views police activity around the scene of a shooting Thursday, July 24, 2014,  at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa. Police in suburban Philadelphia are investigating a shooting at the hospital campus and say they have reports people have been injured and a suspect is in custody. (AP Photo)
  • Hospital workers view police activity at the scene of a shooting Thursday, July 24, 2014,  at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa. Police in suburban Philadelphia are investigating a shooting at the hospital campus and say they have reports people have been injured and a suspect is in custody. (AP Photo)
  • An officer directs traffic near the scene of a shooting Thursday, July 24, 2014, at a wellness center attached to Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa. A doctor grazed by gunfire from a patient who had entered his office in a suburban hospital's psychiatric unit stopped him by returning fire with his own gun and injuring him, authorities said. (AP Photo)
  • An officer stands guard near the scene of a shooting Thursday, July 24, 2014, at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa. A doctor grazed by gunfire from a patient who had entered his office in a suburban hospital's psychiatric unit stopped him by returning fire with his own gun and injuring him, authorities said. (AP Photo)
  • Police try to stop a woman wielding a cane from hitting a woman supporting Israel in its war with Hamas, not pictured, during a rally at John F. Kennedy Plaza, also known as Love Park, in Philadelphia on Wednesday, July 23, 2014. (AP Photo)
  • A police officer carries his weapon near the scene of a shooting at the Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa. on Thursday, July 24, 2014. A prosecutor said a gunman opened fire inside the psychiatric unit leaving one hospital employee dead and a second injured before being critically wounded himself. (AP Photo)
  • A hospital worker embraces a woman near the scene of a shooting at the Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa. on Thursday, July 24, 2014. A prosecutor said a gunman opened fire inside the psychiatric unit leaving one hospital employee dead and a second injured before being critically wounded himself. (AP Photo)
  • People watch police near the scene of a shooting at the Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa. on Thursday, July 24, 2014. A prosecutor said a gunman opened fire inside the psychiatric unit leaving one hospital employee dead and a second injured before being critically wounded himself. (AP Photo)
  • An officer walks near the scene of a shooting Thursday, July 24, 2014, at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa. A shooting at a suburban Philadelphia hospital campus has killed one worker and injured two other people. (AP Photo)

A doctor who was grazed by gunfire from a patient in his office at a suburban Pennsylvania hospital yesterday helped stop him by apparently returning fire with his own weapon and severely injuring him, but not before a caseworker was killed, authorities said.

The patient opened fire after entering the office with the caseworker, District Attorney Jack Whelan said. Witnesses reported hearing yelling before the gunshots.

Several hours after the shooting, investigators had only limited information on what happened inside the closed office but believe the doctor, a psychiatrist, “from all accounts, would have acted in self-defense,” Whelan said.

The doctor, who suffered a graze wound to his head, “faced a situation where his life was in jeopardy,” Whelan said.

Yeadon police Chief Donald Molineux said that, “without a doubt, I believe the doctor saved lives.”

“Without that firearm, this guy (the patient) could have went out in the hallway and just walked down the offices until he ran out of ammunition,” Molineux said.

The dead caseworker was identified only as a 53-year-old woman who had entered the doctor’s office with the patient before the gunfire erupted. The police said they were trying to find relatives to notify.

Two guns were recovered, Whelan said. Authorities said the motive for the shooting was unknown.

The patient, who was critically injured and was taken into custody, was identified as Richard Plotts, an Upper Darby resident in his mid-30s.

The prosecutor said Plotts had been involved in previous incidents with staff, but he did not know their nature. He also said he did not know whether that is why the doctor had a gun or whether the doctor would have been required to have a permit.

After the door of the office was closed, staff members heard loud arguing inside, opened the door and noticed the patient had a gun, Whelan said. They then closed the door and dialed 911. Gunshots were heard a short time later, just before 2:30 p.m.

After Plotts emerged from the office, another doctor and a caseworker helped wrestle him to the floor of the hallway and grabbed his weapon, Whelan said. By that point he had already been severely wounded from several shots, he said.

“They acted vigilantly. They acted bravely,” Whelan said.

The exchange of gunfire occurred on the third floor of the Wellness Center at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital, a 204-bed community teaching hospital just southwest of Philadelphia.

Authorities said there are no surveillance cameras in the doctor’s office or the waiting area outside. They also said the center had no metal detectors.

“Do you evaluate that now . . . in light of this incident to make sure people are safe, especially in what can be a dangerous environment?” Whelan asked.

Patients waiting in the first-floor lobby reported a tense scene when police arrived and ordered everyone out. Most of the patients were elderly.

“I dozed off, and I heard the cop shouting, ‘Come on, come on, get out!” said Millicent Russell, 73, of Lansdowne, who was waiting for a 3 p.m. appointment. “There were people with walkers and canes and stuff. All these cops were outside running here and there with these guns.”

Guns save lives....and protect against tyranny....case closed.

The cases of "a good guy with a gun" stopping a bad guy with a gun are not all that common. Unfortunately the good guy's gun is far more likely to kill or injure an innocent. This NRA life member says, "Disarm the bad guys." And while we're at it, reject the climate of fear that the gun-rights industry has cultivated. That's how lives will be spared.

Guns take lives and are the cause of tyranny.

Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.