Friday, July 25, 2014

Not A Happy Ending, But It Could Have Been Worse

Mentally ill person kills a case worker; psychiatrist at the scene draws and shoots the mentally ill person.  From the July 25, 2014 Houston Chronicle:
Authorities are trying to determine why a man identified as a patient fatally shot a caseworker at a hospital complex in a Philadelphia suburb and whether a psychiatrist who pulled out his own gun and wounded the patient had concerns about him.
The psychiatrist, Dr. Lee Silverman, was grazed in the temple during the gunfight in his office Thursday afternoon with patient Richard Plotts, Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan said.
"We do believe that there were some issues between the doctor and the patient, but whether or not he actually feared him is unclear," Whelan said.
Whether "he actually feared him"?   Let's see, the patient had just shot someone and grazed the doctor with a bullet.  I think that qualifies as reason to fear him.  The July 25, 2014 Philadelphia Inquirer reports:
Plotts, according to police and those who knew him, was not just a threat to the safety of others - but also to himself.
Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood said his department had involuntarily committed Plotts for suicide attempts in 2010 and 2013. Court documents show Plotts has at least four firearms violations and a history of drug offenses.
In 1995, Plotts was accused of robbing a Wilmington, Del., bank but got away with nothing when a dye pack in the stolen bag of money exploded and scared him into dropping the loot, according to an Inquirer report at the time. The report said Plotts was a "self-employed contractor" with a wife and two kids.
Pennsylvania requires all handgun purchases to go through a background check, including private party sales.  Potts clearly could not have lawfully purchased a handgun.


  1. What are the laws in Delaware and Maryland? Delaware County is just over the border, and Maryland isn't that hard to get to - it's a pretty long walk - but those states might be less well equipped to detect someone presenting fake id.

    Living in California, this doesn't come up for me, but what are the rules about buying a fun in a state where one doesn't live? Delaware doesn't have sales tax, so even if one isn't worried about background checks, a person living in a border county would save more than the cost of gas on the purchase of most guns.

  2. You can't legally buy a handgun in any state except your state of residence. Maryland has background checks for ALL handgun sales. Delaware did not have such a requirement until this year.