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

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.