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A new chapter in the Mercy Fitzgerald shooting
I'm starting a new thread on this since the story is moving into the trial phase. Plott's is being charged with first degree murder. I hope more facts about the case come out and that this drives home to people that citizens having firearms (even in a firearm free zone) can save lives when a criminal who by their nature tends to ignore rules and tries to take advantage of an area where they know people generally do not carry and can not defend themselves.

Man charged with Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital shootings held for trial on first-degree murder

YEADON >> Three months after he allegedly fired a bullet into his caseworker’s head and attempted to shoot his psychiatrist inside Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital, accused killer Richard Plotts made his first court appearance.

Thinner than he had been at the time of the alleged shootings and sporting a goatee, the 49-year-old defendant waived his preliminary hearing on all charges on Tuesday, moving his first-degree murder case onto the Court of Common Pleas.

Prosecutors have not decided whether they will seek the death penalty.

Shackled and wearing the red prison uniform reserved for high-profile cases, Plotts appeared to be taking in everything said by his attorney Charles Williams and Assistant District Attorney Michael Mattson. When Magisterial District Judge W. Keith Williams II asked if Plotts understood he was waiving his right to a hearing, Plotts responded, “Yes sir,” and added that he was “very much aware.”

The only question he had for the judge was whether the proceeding was being recorded.

Plotts is charged with first-degree murder and related offenses in connection with the July 24 shooting death of his caseworker, Theresa Hunt, and the attempted murder of psychiatrist Lee Silverman.

Prosecutors allege Plotts went to Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital that afternoon armed with a loaded .32-caliber revolver and carrying 39 additional bullets with the intent to kill Silverman and possibly other hospital staff members.

“It’s clear from looking at the evidence that he acted with specific intention to kill,” Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan said at a press conference a day after the hospital shooting. “He intended to kill Dr. (Lee) Silverman and that’s why he brought the gun.”

Plotts had an appointment with Silverman at 2:45 p.m. on July 24, but arrived about an hour early, according to authorities. The doctor called Hunt, Plotts’ caseworker, and asked her to accompany him to his office in the Sister Marie Lenahan Wellness Center, across from Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital’s main building.

When they arrived at the psychiatrist’s office, Plotts appeared agitated, according to Silverman’s statement to police. He refused to sit down next to Hunt, standing instead.

Silverman, seated at his desk behind his computer screen, did not notice Plotts had the revolver tucked in the waistband of his pants, authorities said. Plotts allegedly pulled the gun from his waistband and began to rant. Silverman started to back away.

According to prosecutors, Plotts allegedly turned, pointed the gun directly at Hunt and fired, striking her in the head. Hunt, 53, died instantly.

After Plotts shot Hunt, he turned the gun on the doctor, authorities said.

Crouching behind his chair, Silverman pulled a .32-caliber semiautomatic Seecamp handgun from his pocket and attempted to get to the door. Plotts allegedly started shooting at him, and Silverman returned fire, emptying his gun. At least 10 shots were fired, authorities said.

Silverman was shot through the thumb as reached to cover his face. He also suffered a graze wound to his head as he made his way out of the office. At least three bullets struck Plotts, authorities said.

Caseworker John D’Alonzo was in the lobby and heard the commotion. He climbed through a window, opened the door to Silverman’s office, looked in and saw Plotts with a gun. D’Alonzo called 911, according to authorities. That call was placed at 2:21 p.m.

D’Alonzo went back into the office and, along with Dr. Jeffrey Dekret, wrestled Plotts to the ground, disarmed him and held him until police arrived.

The defendant, shot several times, was transported to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania for treatment.

Hunt’s body was found in Silverman’s office. She was pronounced dead at 2:30 p.m. An autopsy ruled Hunt had died of two gunshot wounds to the head. Her death has been ruled a homicide.

Silverman was treated and released from the hospital that same day.

During the shootings, Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital was placed on lockdown and patients and staff inside the wellness center were evacuated. Police arrived on the scene in about four minutes. Multiple police departments and the Special Weapons and Tactical Team went through the entire hospital complex to ensure it was safe and there were no other shooters.

Law enforcement authorities said Plotts has a history of mental illness and numerous arrests, including several for illegally carrying a gun.

Silverman had known Plotts for about 20 years and had treated him off and on, according to authorities.

The case has been preassigned to Common Pleas Judge Mary Alice Brennan. Plotts’ formal arraignment is scheduled for Nov. 18 in Media.
Everytime we look the other way when someone else loses rights we disagree with, we make it easier to lose the rights we support.


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