It Happened: A Good Guy With a Gun Stopped a Bad Guy With a Gun

“Gun-toting doctor” shot assailant in Darby hospital attack.

A hospital worker embraces a woman near the scene of a shooting at the Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa. on Thursday, July 24, 2014. A prosecutor said a gunman opened fire inside the psychiatric unit leaving one hospital employee dead and a second injured before being critically wounded himself. (AP Photo)

A hospital worker embraces a woman near the scene of a shooting at the Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa. on Thursday, July 24, 2014. A prosecutor said a gunman opened fire inside the psychiatric unit leaving one hospital employee dead and a second injured before being critically wounded himself. (AP Photo)

Everytime a gun massacre occurs, gun enthusiasts have suggested that what the world needs is … more guns. “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” they say. The problem? Good guys with guns so rarely seem to make the scene — and bad guys with guns end up doing quite a bit of damage.

Until Thursday at least. A “gun-toting doctor” at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby shot and injured his assailant, effectively ending the attack — and there’s a good chance as a result this story is going to get some front-and-center attention in the national gun debate. 




The New York Daily News reports:

A suspected gunman burst into a Pennsylvania hospital's psychiatric ward, killing a female caseworker and wounding a psychiatrist Thursday before the doctor returned fire and critically injured Richard Plotts, authorities said.

Plotts opened fire after entering Dr. Lee Silverman's office with the caseworker, District Attorney Jack Whelan said. Witnesses reported hearing yelling before the gunshots.

Silverman told police the patient fatally shot the caseworker before he pulled out his own gun and exchanged fire with the patient. Whelan said the psychiatrist, "from all accounts, would have acted in self-defense."

The caseworker was Theresa Hunt, 53.

The hospital, not incidentally, has a policy banning weapons from its campus — unless they're carried by law enforcement officers.

NBC 10 reports:

His ex-wife, who asked to remain anonymous, told NBC10 her ex-husband was abusive, made threats on her life and acted violently toward her family.

"He was violent, physically and mentally," Plotts's ex said. "He has threatened to kill me. He's been violent to my family — parents, siblings — and he's just never been a very good person."

The couple's divorce was finalized in 1999, while Plotts served six years in prison for a Delaware bank robbery four years earlier.

Fox 29 adds:

Bizarre, erratic and frightening; that's how former neighbors described accused Wellness Center shooter Richard Plotts.

“He knocked on my door one day to ask for my cell phone because he stabbed himself in the leg, so that sort of like turned on the light to me," Bert Garcia said.

Neighbors said he lived at this Upper Darby apartment within the last year.

Cathy Nickel said Plotts screamed what now comes off as an eerie message when he moved out.

“The last thing he said getting in the van, he hollered, ‘you haven’t heard the end of me yet'" Nickel said.

AP reports on the possible motive for the attack:

The motive for the shooting remained unclear late Thursday. Whelan said Plotts, of Upper Darby, might have had issues with the doctor over his treatment plan. It is not known, however, if that is why Silverman was armed, apparently against hospital policy.

Whelan said that Plotts, 49, underwent surgery Thursday night at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Silverman was treated and released.

Be respectful of our online community and contribute to an engaging conversation. We reserve the right to ban impersonators and remove comments that contain personal attacks, threats, or profanity, or are flat-out offensive. By posting here, you are permitting Philadelphia magazine and Metro Corp. to edit and republish your comment in all media.