The gunman in a shooting that killed a female case worker and wounded two others at the Wellness Center on the Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital campus in Darby has entered a plea for the crimes.
According to Emily Harris, the Public Affairs Officer for the Office of the District Attorney, Richard Plotts entered an open plea of “guilty but mentally ill” to First Degree Murder of Theresa Hunt, Attempted Murder of Lee Silverman (F1), and Persons not to Possess Firearms (F2).
Plotts will be sentenced on Friday, September 25, 2015.
The shooting happened in a 3rd floor Psychiatric office in the Sister Marie Lenahan Mercy Wellness Center on July 24, 2014.
The building is across the street from Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital on the 1500 block of Lansdowne Avenue.
At a 6 p.m. press conference, Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan identified Richard Plotts,49, of Upper Darby, as the suspect. Whelan says Plotts, who was a patient, arrived at the Wellness Center shortly after 2 p.m. with his case worker.
Whelan says Plotts along with his case worker went into the doctor's office. A worker confirms he heard loud arguing at the time and walked into the office where he saw the suspect pointing a gun at the doctor, according to Whelan. The DA says the worker quietly closed the door and called 9-1-1. Seconds, later the suspect shot the case worker and the doctor.
Whelan revealed another doctor and case worker forced their way in and wrestled the suspect to the ground and took away his gun.
Police believe there was a gunfire exchange between the doctor and suspect. According to Whelan, two guns were retrieved from the scene. The suspect did have psychiatric issues and was a patient, according Whelan.
"We believe there were two guns retrieved at scene, one with perpetrator and one the doctor possessed. At this point and time it needs to be verified. We believe doctor was acting in self-defense, " said DA Whelan.
At the press conference, Whelan confirmed the female case worker was dead and the doctor suffered a graze wound to the head. The doctor is expected to be treated and released from HUP. The Delco DA has identified the doctor as Dr. Lee Silverman and the fatal shooting victim has been identified as 53-year-old Theresa Hunt of Philadelphia.
Whelan also confirmed the suspect suffered three gunshot wounds to the torso area and is in critical condition at HUP. As of 10 p.m. on Thursday, the suspect was still undergoing surgery.
Police continue to investigate. The motive remains unclear. Investigators say there are no metal detectors at the Wellness Center that would have revealed the suspect was armed.
Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital issued the following statement:
"We continue to pray for the victims and their families. As this is an ongoing investigation, we remain focused on working with the Delaware County Police Departments to understand fully the details of the event and to do all we can to assist those affected.
We are thankful for the responders to this incident, the many law enforcement professionals who are a part of the investigation, and the outpouring of support we have received from our community."