DARBY, Pennsylvania – -(Ammoland.com)- A doctor who was grazed by gunfire from a patient in his office at a suburban hospital on Thursday helped stop him by apparently returning fire with his own weapon and severely injuring him, but not before a caseworker was killed, authorities said.
A Pennsylvania police chief says that same doctor undoubtedly saved lives after he shot a gunman who opened fire Thursday in an incident that left a hospital case worker dead.
The gunman, Richard Plotts, of Upper Darby, opened fire at Mercy Elizabeth Hospital, just outside of Philadelphia, shortly after entering an office with the case worker, the Associated Press reports.
The patient opened fire after entering the office with the caseworker, District Attorney Jack Whelan said. Witnesses reported hearing yelling before the gunshots.
Witnesses said that when they opened the office door after hearing shouting, they saw Plotts with a gun. The witnesses closed the office door and called 911. Minutes later, they heard gun shots.
Plotts had shot and killed a 53 year-old female case worker. He sustained several critical gun shot wounds himself from the gun of a hospital psychiatrist. The psychiatrist suffered a graze wound to his head. Plotts was taken into custody.
“Without a doubt, I believe the doctor saved lives,” said Yeadon police chief Donald Molineux, according to the Associated Press.
“Without that firearm, [the shooter] could have went out in the hallway and just walked down the offices until he ran out of ammunition,” Molineux said.
District attorney Jack Whelan said that Plotts has had other run-ins with the staff in the past, though the exact nature of the altercations was unknown. Whelan said he did not know if the doctor was carrying a gun as a precaution because of those previous interactions, according to the AP.
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.