Pennsylvania man charged with murder in hospital shooting

The man accused of fatally shooting his caseworker and grazing a psychiatrist was charged with murder late Saturday. 

AP Photo
Investigators work the scene of a shooting July 24, at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa. A shooting at the suburban Philadelphia hospital campus has killed one worker and injured two other people. A Clifton Heights, Penn. man has been charged with murder in the shooting.

The man accused of fatally shooting his caseworker and grazing his psychiatrist at a suburban Philadelphia hospital complex has been charged with murder. Richard Plotts was arraigned late Saturday at his hospital bedside after emerging from sedation.

The Delaware County District Attorney's Office said authorities with a search warrant found handguns Friday night in the home of Richard Plotts, 49, in Clifton Heights, Pennsylvania.

Plotts, who has a long criminal history involving firearms, walked into the office of psychiatrist Lee Silverman inside the Sister Marie Lenahan Wellness Center in Darby on Thursday for a scheduled appointment.

He then pulled a .32-caliber revolver from his waistband, and after arguing about signs banning guns at the facility fired two shots, killing social worker Theresa Hunt at point-blank range.

Authorities say Plotts was ranting about Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital's gun ban Thursday before he shot Hunt during an appointment. Authorities say psychiatrist Lee Silverman then crouched behind a chair and pulled out his own gun to shoot Plotts.

Silverman, who suffered a graze wound to the head in the ensuing firefight, shot back six or seven bullets with a .32-caliber semi-automatic weapon of his own, hitting Plotts three times and critically wounding him.

Plotts was carrying more than three dozen bullets in his pocket and was trying to reload when two hospital employees wrestled him to the ground, prosecutors said.

Philadelphia police in 1990 stopped Plotts for carrying an unlicensed firearm. He later served time for federal bank robbery and after his release from prison, violated his parole when he was caught with a gun, prosecutors said.

He was sentenced in 2003 to up to 23 months in prison for being a felon in possession of a gun. 

Hunt's brother, Dennis, told WPVI-TV she was strong and good-hearted. He says the family called her "Mother Theresa."

* This report includes additional material from the Associated Press.

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