Psych-unit shooter arraigned on murder charges

Posted: July 29, 2014

A CHILD'S drawing of Dr. Lee Silverman is taped to his front door in Lower Merion, waving with a bandaged hand and with a Band-Aid on his head.

"My dad is a hero," Silverman's little daughter wrote above it.

Meanwhile, Richard Plotts, Silverman's psychiatric patient for 20 years, was arraigned on murder and attempted-murder charges Saturday night in his bed at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania for fatally shooting a caseworker and shooting Silverman at a psych unit of Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital, in Delaware County, on Thursday afternoon.

Plotts, 49, of Clifton Heights, also faces numerous assault and weapons charges. He was under police guard at the hospital, a spokeswoman for the Delaware County District Attorney's Office said, and was being treated for multiple gunshot wounds.

Silverman, according to an affidavit of probable cause, told police that Plotts had arrived early to his appointment Thursday and appeared to be upset. Silverman said he spoke to Plotts, who was with caseworker Theresa Hunt, in his office for a few minutes, then watched him pull out a "nickel-plated, antique-looking gun" and shoot Hunt, of Kensington, in the left side of her head.

According to the affidavit, Silverman crouched behind a desk while Plotts was ranting and waving his gun around. Silverman remembered that he had his own handgun in his pocket and pulled it out and tried to get out of the office, the affidavit said, and Plotts fired at him, a bullet grazing his thumb and forehead. Both men emptied all their ammunition firing at one another, the affidavit said, and Plotts was struck multiple times.

Another doctor, Jeffrey Dekert, took Plotts' .32-caliber Iver Johnson revolver and secured it, according to the affidavit.

At Silverman's well-landscaped home with purple flowers at the bottom of a long driveway in a bucolic neighborhood near the Schuylkill Expressway, a woman who answered the door last night said he wasn't ready to comment. Silverman, in a Facebook photo posted Saturday, had attempted a little smile while displaying his bandaged thumb.

A woman who answered the door at Dekert's home in Pottstown said he wasn't there and wouldn't like to comment on what happened at the psych unit. Later, Dekert himself said in an email that he couldn't comment.


On Twitter: @JasonNark

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