Doctor fired back at Philadelphia-area hospital shooter, police believe

Doctor fired back at Philadelphia-area hospital shooter, police believe
A hospital worker views police activity near the scene of a shooting at a wellness center attached to Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa., on Thursday, July 24, 2014. (AP)

A hospital case worker was killed and a doctor and a suspect wounded Thursday during a shooting at a Philadelphia-area hospital, according to county authorities.

The shooting was reported at 2:30 p.m. at the Sister Marie Lenahan Wellness Center on the campus of Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa., according to Delaware County Dist. Atty. Jack Whelan, who spoke at a news conference after the incident.


The suspect, identified by officials as Richard Plotts of Upper Darby, Pa., was a patient at the hospital's psychiatric unit. He was escorted into the unit by his 53-year-old female case worker, who he allegedly shot and killed.

After entering, the suspect got into a loud argument with a doctor and the case worker in a private examination room, where staff members saw him draw a gun. Moments later, staff members reported gunshots, reentered the examination room and tackled the suspect. Police arrived shortly thereafter.

Investigators suspect the doctor may have returned fire with his own weapon, but are waiting for him to be released from the hospital to speak with him. He was reportedly grazed by a bullet.

"This is what we believe occurred, but the only person who can confirm this is the doctor," Whelan said.

The doctor and the suspect are being treated at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. The doctor is expected to be released, and the suspect is still in surgery.

Police have found both weapons, Whelan said.

Hospital employees reported previous incidents between Plotts and hospital staff, although they said they had no indication that he was armed or dangerous when he arrived today, authorities said. Whelan did not know whether he had a criminal record.

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This post was updated at 4:26 pm to reflect new information from local authorities.

It was originally published at 2 pm.