Wounded after a gunman opened fire inside a psychiatric unit, a psychiatrist was able to reach his own weapon and return fire - stopping a possible mass shooting.
The gunman, identified as Richard Plotts, was an outpatient getting treatment at the hospital, was escorted to the doctor's office for an appointment by a caseworker. Witnesses said they hear loud screaming and arguing coming from the office.
Hospital employees on the unit slowly opened the door and saw Plotts holding a handgun aimed at the doctor. The employees quietly closed the door and called 911.
Moments later shots rang out inside the office.
Initial reports say that Plotts shot his caseworker, a 53-year-old woman, killing her instantly. He then turned towards the doctor and fired a single round, grazing his head.
The doctor drew his own gun and returned fire striking Plotts three times in the chest.
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At that point another doctor and a psych tech barged into the office and saw the wounded doctor covered in blood and Plotts still holding his gun. The other doctor and tech tackled Plotts to the ground and took control of the weapon until police arrived.
Police responded in force and evacuated much of the 204 bed hospital.
"I dozed off, and I heard the cop shouting, 'Come on, come on, get out!" said Millicent Russell, 73, of Lansdowne, who was waiting for a 3 p.m. appointment. "There were people with walkers and canes and stuff. All these cops were outside running here and there with these guns."
"The scene is secure. Everyone is safe," District Attorney Jack Whelan told a late afternoon news conference.
"We’re not exactly sure what had occurred and what might have precipitated this particular incident," Whelan said. "We do know the psychiatric connection, we have that concern, however we don’t know if there was another dispute that occurred inside that room that led to these shots being fired."
While we mourn the loss of the case worker, we are thankful the psychiatrist was armed and able to save his life and countless others.
More news as details emerge