Skip to comments.Gunman was offended by hospital's 'gun-free' policy
Posted on 07/28/2014 4:14:35 AM PDT by from occupied ga
NOTHING WAS GOING to stop Richard Plotts from carrying a gun.
Not the law, not his felony record, not his questionable mental health and certainly not a sign.
"There's evidence that he took offense to the issue that there were signs posted at Mercy Fitzgerald Health System indicating that it was a gun-free zone," Whelan said. "That's the only motive we have been able to determine at this point in time . . . he was upset about that policy."
And, if not for an armed doctor and two other brave staffers who subdued him, Plotts may have claimed many more lives with the 39 extra bullets he had in his pocket, according to prosecutors.
"We believe he was there and he was going to reload that revolver and continue to fire and continue to kill," Whelan said.
The incident that shook Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital's campus, which spans both Darby and Yeadon boroughs, began about 1:30 p.m. when Plotts, 49, showed up an hour early to his appointment with psychiatrist Lee Silverman at the Sister Marie Lenahan Mercy Wellness Center, across the street from the main hospital.
Silverman called Plotts' caseworker, Theresa Hunt, 53, of Philadelphia, to join the two in his office, which was common practice, Whelan said.
Plotts was allegedly agitated during the meeting and would not sit. After a brief rant, he pulled a .32-caliber revolver from his waistband, Whelan said.
"What happened next was horrible," he said. "Mr. Plotts took the gun, pointed it directly at Ms. [Hunt] and fired into her head. . . . That bullet went right into her brain and we believe it was instant death at that point."
A "panic-stricken" Silverman crouched behind his chair, reached into his pocket and pulled out a .32-caliber semiautomatic handgun, for which he had a concealed-carry license.
"The doctor indicated that he pointed his gun toward Mr. Plotts and fired until it was empty, not knowing whether he hit Plotts," Whelan said.
Three of Silverman's shots hit Plotts - two in the torso and one in the arm - but it didn't seem to stop him, Whelan said. Plotts was able to get off at least one shot at the doctor, who was hit in the thumb and suffered a graze wound to his face as he tried to cover it with his hand, police said.
A caseworker who was waiting in the office's lobby, John D'Alanzo, climbed through a lobby window, went into the room and wrestled Plotts to the floor with help from another doctor, Jeffrey Dekret, who secured Plotts' firearm.
Whelan called the actions of the three men "heroic."
Hunt was pronounced dead on the scene. Silverman and Plotts were taken to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Silverman was treated for his injuries and released. Plotts remains hospitalized and under sedation, although he is expected to recover.
When he does, he will be charged with murder, attempted murder and related offenses, Whelan said.
Plotts, who is a convicted felon, is prohibited by law from owning a weapon. Whelan said investigators are still tracking where the gun Plotts used came from and how he obtained it.
Plotts' criminal history dates back to 1990, when he was twice arrested in Philadelphia for carrying a firearm without a license. In 1992 he was convicted of simple assault and forgery, but it was a 1996 conviction for a federal bank robbery that made him ineligible to own a weapon ever again, according to prosecutors.
But that didn't stop Plotts. In 2003, he was convicted of another gun violation in Delaware County.
In 2010 and 2013, Upper Darby police involuntary committed Plotts for mental-health issues and suicide attempts.
Plotts was so violent that he'd even been banned from the Life Center of Eastern Delaware County, an emergency homeless shelter, according to Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood.
"It's tough when you're barred from the shelters," Chitwood said. "They'll take anybody."
Despite his mental-health history, which authorities have not detailed, Plotts was "oriented to reality" during Thursday's shooting, Whelan said.
"I believe that he understood right from wrong and I don't believe that he was suffering from a mental illness that would prevent him from understanding what he was doing," Whelan said.
As for Silverman, Whelan said that he believed it was the doctor's practice to carry a gun for self-protection and that he was in compliance with all state laws.
A Mercy Fitzgerald Health Systems spokesman said Thursday it was against hospital policy for anyone other than "on-duty law enforcement" to carry weapons but a subsequent statement from a Mercy spokeswoman yesterday said, "We look forward to Dr. Silverman's return to serving patients at our hospital."
Silverman had been working on-and-off with Plotts over the last 20 years. It's unknown how long Hunt had been Plotts' caseworker.
Hunt's sister, Audrey Jane Hunt, posted this to Facebook yesterday:
"Wow now to go on without you Theresa my heart aches I can't call or visit," she wrote. "She wasn't selfish and made me laugh and I embarrassed her to no end I love you and now you are with Mommy and Gary."
But this points up the stupidity of "gun free zones," and of course we can't have any facts interfering with the fervent belief of anti-gunners that criminals who are willing to break the law to rob or murdersomeone will be stopped by a sign prohibiting firearms.
“his questionable mental health”
Hmm, I think I see a trend.
From this I get that they are attacking those who believe gun free zones are bad thing like at schools. It's a clear spin directing blame at people who believe that we have a right to carry a firearm for protection where ever we go.
Well, obviously this is just further proof that all my guns need to be taken away.
not exactly gun-free, the doctor was carrying a gun
If it was a “Gun Free Zone” then why was the doctor carrying?
Does the sign only apply to the peons?
there are stories out there that he will be fired over it.
He was suppose to be a good little target that does not shoot back.
It’s not a Pennsylvania law, it’s a private hospital’s rule. If you are a visitor, they can ask you to leave. If you refuse to leave, they can have you arrested for trespassing. But they can’t have you arrested for doing something that is in compliance with Pennsylvania law.
Good thing he was. You could tell that the MSM news weasels heads practically exploded when they had to admit that carrying a gun saved the doctor's life.
The doctor violated the hospital’s no gun policy?
“If it was a Gun Free Zone then why was the doctor carrying?
Does the sign only apply to the peons?”
While I was employed where guns were prohibited, I carried anyway. No liberal moronic policies are going to get me killed. This good doctor has the same attitude.
“Get away from the signs! He hates the signs!”
Apparently so, and a good thing he did. Let's see 1. complies with policy and dies or 2. violates policy and lives. Which one would a corporate executive choose? (1 of course, but for the employees, not him/herself).
On a similar topic I noticed that a great many businesses include the grocery "Sprouts" locally have posted no firearms signs. Yep that will work. Someone intent on robbing the place will stop and turn around when they see the no firearms sign.
“Three of Silverman’s shots hit Plotts - two in the torso and one in the arm - but it didn’t seem to stop him”
The good Doctor needs to rethink his choice of caliber. .32 is just a bit too small. I prefer .45.
The doctor isn't necessarily a hospital employee. IIRC, the majority of psychiatrists are still self-employed and maintain private practices. They bill the patients and their insurance companies directly, and pay their own practice expenses. He might rent or lease office space from the hospital. That's fairly typical, particularly for specialists that need to spend a lot of time in the hospital. If he's not a hospital employee, he can't be fired by the hospital. If he is in violation of medical staff rules, he could possibly have his hospital privileges revoked. However, I don't know if how likely it is that the hospital staff rules cover firearms, and even if they do, it's other doctors, not hospital administrators that make the decisions about medical staff privileges, so that isn't likely to happen. If the hospital's lawyers insist, he might receive a letter reminding him about the hospital rule -- but since he clearly saved several lives by shooting the shooter, I doubt it.
I think this is mostly wishful thinking by the hoplophobes.
The problem was that he was carrying concealed. Hard to carry a 1911 concealed. When I first got a carry license I got a star .40. After a couple of heavy fanny pack months and I went to a taurus titanium .357. An improvement, but went to a colt mustang .380 eventually.
A lot of docs carry and/or keep guns in their desks. The rules be damned. Docs and other staff have to deal with violent patients all the time. The docs can carry cause the hospital will look the other way.
Better the .32 you can conceal than the .45 you can’t.
Although a .380 isn’t much bigger.
Every little bit helps.
Doctor Who Stopped Shooting Spree Will Not Lose His Job, is Praised by Hospital
July 27 2014
by Dan Cannon
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“That’s the only motive we have been able to determine at this point in time . . . he was upset about that policy.”
More likely they stopped looking when some political mouth-breather came up with this theory.
“Gunman was offended by hospital’s ‘gun-free’ policy,”
So they are trying to imply that the murderer was a pro-gun nut since he hated the gun-free policy. There can be no other reason for shooting up an office.
Have you ever considered how guns are carried in “gun free” areas of Chicago? Why waste putting up signs?
Before the TBA my carry gun was a S&W mode1 640 in .357 cal. with hollow points.
They're desperate to find some anti-gun spin on what torpedoes their sacred gun free zone concept. That was the best they could do.
“Why waste putting up signs?”
Because “it’s for the children” you know.
Because it makes the weenies feel safe.
Because it has blossomed into hashtags to make the world feel goooooooooooooood.
Because, most importantly it provides city union jobs.
It’s your tax dollars a work you know.
He was carrying in violation of the hospital's rules. He did so, because he figured it was better to be armed than unarmed in that environment. He was right.
Ditto. Earlier this year I was a volunteer helper at a rather large local event. On the tickets the public bought for the event it said firearms prohibited. However it said nothing about that in any volunteer briefing nor during any setup/teardown for this yearly event. I take that to mean their no weapons policy does not apply to the staff and volunteers. I carried. If they ever found out they can "fire" me and ask me not to come back. Though it is likely that the only way anyone would find out would be if I needed my firearm like this Doc did. In that case they're probably going to be damn glad I had it.
We need a ban on pockets that can carry more than 10 rounds!
Absolutely! Such a ban has already passed the NY state legislature (probably). NY is either the worst anti-gun state or the second worst (depending on how MA is rated). I'm sure they are contemplating a limit on the number of rounds you can purchase, carry on your person, own in your life.
I like it! Assigns the appropriate silliness to the media spin.
Steve Martin was an intelligent guy playing a jerk. The media plays us all as jerks.
.32 cal, not enough gun. Get a 9mm. Otherwise, any gun is better than no gun.
The .32 that you have with you is a whole lot better than the .45 you don't carry because it's too big and heavy. I understand the Dr's rationale for carrying a smaller firearm.