Pennsylvania man who had already shot one person to death stopped by doctor with gun

posted at 4:58 pm on July 25, 2014 by Allahpundit

Via Bob Owens, who notes that the medical center where this all went down is a “gun-free zone.” Unfortunately, the shooter didn’t care about that.

Fortunately, his psychiatrist didn’t either. The cops pulled no punches afterwards: If the doctor hadn’t returned fire, the people inside the building were facing a rampage.

On Thursday, Whelan described how the meeting among [Richard] Plotts, [Dr. Lee] Silverman, and [caseworker Theresa] Hunt abruptly took a violent turn.

Plotts and Hunt went to Silverman’s third-floor office shortly before 2:30 p.m., Whelan said. Plotts was apparently armed, Whelan said, and people near the room soon heard shouting.

Concerned, a hospital employee “actually opened the door, saw him pointing a gun at the doctor,” Whelan said. The worker shut the door quietly and immediately called 911.

Plotts then opened fire. According to Whelan, he shot Hunt two times in the face. The psychiatrist then ducked under his desk, retrieved his gun, and came up shooting, striking Plotts three times.

Hunt died at the scene. Silverman was grazed near his temple and Plotts was hit in the arm and torso; as he staggered out of the doctor’s office, other workers tackled him. He had 39 unspent rounds on him when the cops finally got there.

The motive is still hazy: Yesterday the AP thought Plotts might have had a dispute with Silverman over his treatment but today they cite eyewitnesses who claim Plotts was ranting about the hospital’s gun ban. (Which is odd considering that it didn’t stop him.) Then again, given that the guy was being treated by a psychiatrist, maybe it’s not worth parsing motives too closely. He had a violent history, says the AP, and had been arrested before for assault, drugs, and multiple times for gun offenses. Something clearly was amiss upstairs. An obvious question in the aftermath: How’d he get his gun?

Actually, never mind that. Why would a facility that deals with disturbed people institute a “gun-free” policy if they weren’t prepared to enforce it by screening visitors? No surveillance cameras, no metal detectors. The logic here, I guess, is that you don’t want doctors keeping weapons in their office for fear that they’ll be knocked out by a homicidal patient, who’ll then find the gun and start shooting. If doctors can’t bring their weapons in but patients can, though, how is that likely to work out?

Update: Whoops, sloppiness on my part: The shooting happened in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, not the state of Delaware. I changed the headline accordingly.


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Comment pages: 1 2

In a third-floor psychiatrist’s office?

Alien on July 25, 2014 at 5:33 PM

With few exceptions, oxygen pipes are as uniquitous in a modern hospital as electricity. Plus, did the psycho notified the doctor in advance that he’ll be in a third-floor psychiatrist’s office?

Rix on July 25, 2014 at 5:37 PM

Oh, stop.

It was a medical office building. Generally they don’t have oxygen. We use a tank in our office on an as needed basis which is, let me think, never.

I know people that work at Fitz Mercy.

Sadly, while this doctor is a hero in my opinion, there is a very good chance he will be fired. I know a physician who brought his gun into another hospital to show a fellow employee and was terminated immediately and escorted off the premises.

Prayers and good wishes go out to this doc.

talkingpoints on July 25, 2014 at 9:27 PM

Since this case was also a point blank shot inside the doctor’s office,

dentarthurdent on July 25, 2014 at 5:45 PM

My thought, too. (Yeah, I’m late to the fight – timing belt snapped on the commute home tonight)

No wonder AF people just like to drop bombs and shoot missiles….

dentarthurdent on July 25, 2014 at 7:52 PM

Hey now! While a little napalm, cluster munitions and a MOAB are my cup of tea, I qual-ed on the Army range when I lived with the grunts. *All* of us did – even the admin troops. Don’t you be dissing ALOs and ROMADs, now, brother!

GWB on July 25, 2014 at 9:37 PM

As for shut off, it takes half a minute to kick in unless you literally destroy the pipe.

Rix on July 25, 2014 at 6:04 PM

In which case (because the leak wouldn’t be that large) you really aren’t going to get any sort of raging inferno going. Period. Those lines aren’t that big.

GWB on July 25, 2014 at 10:34 PM

Oxygen pipes are plastic…

Rix on July 25, 2014 at 6:04 PM

Yeah – plastic – no sparks. You’re a moron, STFU and go stand in the line of fire.

earlgrey on July 25, 2014 at 11:18 PM

The problem with discharging a gun in a hospital, purpose notwithstanding, is that hitting an oxygen pipe will instantly kill more people than a squad of hatchet-wielding maniacs.

Sure fire sign you’re an idiot.

1) Oxygen isn’t flammable, it oxidizes which supports combustion.
2) Oxygen won’t explode when sparked unless you’re thinking of a highly compressed volume, like in a cylinder. Even then it’s not a deflagrating ball of flame like in Die Hard… it’s an overpressure.
3) Oxygen lines are clearly labeled and are not run through office areas. They are run above corridors and supplied via a manifold to the different service points.

So, no, it won’t “instantly kill” more people than your red herring scenario. Cripes.

Hootie on July 26, 2014 at 8:14 AM

If you don’t have your own pistol, you may have to wait for the rest of your life to for the police to bring theirs. This doc may get fired but he’s alive because he did the right thing and refused to be a victim.

Lammo on July 26, 2014 at 10:47 AM

If you don’t have your own pistol, you may have to wait for the rest of your life for the police to bring theirs. This doc may get fired but he’s alive because he did the right thing and refused to be a victim.

Lammo on July 26, 2014 at 10:48 AM

Von Kleist on July 25, 2014 at 5:11 PM

I have NO problem with folks defending themselves, their loved ones, others or even their property. But the story you linked to makes it sound like he pursued the woman out of the house and shot her in the back.

I confess, I do have some trouble with that.

OBQuiet on July 26, 2014 at 11:13 AM

I bet the doctor gets fired for having the audacity to defend himself with a gun in a ‘gun free zone’.

The ones responsible for the ‘gun free zone’, who failed to keep the zone ‘gun free’ (result is one woman killed), will probably not even get a reprimand.

s1im on July 26, 2014 at 4:09 PM

conceal carry a .380 in a pants pocket.
Its there when you need it.

sniffles1999 on July 26, 2014 at 11:01 PM

The doctor is a hero. Gun free zones are threats to personal safety. Guns save lives. End of story.

geezerintraining on July 27, 2014 at 11:53 AM

Comment pages: 1 2