A 53-year-old case worker is dead, and a doctor is in the hospital after a shooting occurred at the Sister Marie Lenahan Wellness Center at Mercy-Fitzgerald Hospital in Delaware County, Pennsylvania.
NBC 10 Philadelphia reports that a patient pulled out a gun and fired on his case worker after an argument behind closed doors. The doctor intervened, pulling out his own gun and shooting the suspect, who is in critical condition.
The suspect, Richard Plotts, has known psychiatric problems, according to Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan. Whelan said that they don’t yet know what might have caused either the dispute or Plotts to pull his gun and shoot his case worker. Another doctor and another case worker wrestled Plotts to the ground and tried to take his gun from him.
Whelan also told NBC10:
“A worker did confirm that he heard some loud arguing going on. They came in and they actually opened the door and saw him pointing a gun at the doctor. They did not notice the case worker at that point. They shut the door very quietly and one immediately called 911,”
Hospital staff had experienced multiple problems with Plotts in the past, and doctors reported “turbulent” interactions with him.
However, Fox News says that investigators believe that the doctor who fired, along with those who wrestled with Plotts, were acting in self defense. Those who wrestled Plotts to the ground were more effective at stopping the situation than the doctor with the gun, as Plotts had already been shot several times before they got his gun away from him.
Fox News also reports that there are no metal detectors at the wellness center, so if Plotts’ kept his gun concealed, nobody would have known he had it until he pulled it. There are also no security or surveillance cameras in the doctor’s office, which likely helps to protect patients’ privacy.
The wounded doctor’s condition hasn’t been revealed as of yet, and it’s unclear what will happen to Plotts if he survives. A lot depends on his mental state at the time, his overall mental state, how he got his weapon, and what led to his pulling it on his case worker and firing.
Here’s the news report from NBC 10 Philadelphia.