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Man fires shotgun in Hancock clinic

September 26, 2000

Man fires shotgun in Hancock clinic



By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI / Staff Writer


HANCOCK - A man who walked into a medical clinic in Hancock Tuesday evening and asked for drugs because he was depressed fired a shot into the ceiling after being denied medication, Maryland State Police said.

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The 49-year-old Warfordsburg, Pa., man entered the Tri-State Community Health Center lobby at 130 W. High St. around 6 p.m. carrying a shotgun, said Hancock Officer Mike Ruppenkamp.

He said the man had been treated at the clinic in the past.

The man told the clinic staff he wanted to commit suicide and requested drugs from employees, who turned him down, police said.

The medical clinic was filled with patients and employees, police said. No one was injured in the incident.

While the man was still in the clinic, physician Matthew Hahn evacuated employees and patients from the building, said Ruppenkamp.

He said he believed it was a clinic employee who called 911 after seeing the man with the weapon.

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He said the man "was highly upset," at not receiving medication and left the clinic, which is on the same street as the Hancock Police station.

The man stood in the clinic parking lot near his 1970 Dodge pickup truck holding his weapon and threatening to commit suicide, said Ruppenkamp.

As Ruppenkamp talked to the man, Maryland State Police troopers surrounded him, he said.

"I kept telling him it's not as bad as he thinks it is and we can get him help," said Ruppenkamp.

During the talks, the man, who had been employed as a landscaper, told police he was upset because he was disabled and could no longer work. He had been injured in a fight and had lingering pain from his injuries, according to Ruppenkamp.

"I just tried to calm him down," he said.

Ruppenkamp said he tried to keep the man's attention focused on him while a state trooper got behind him and tackled him.

After the man was subdued, he remained calm during a drive to Washington County Hospital, where he was taken for a psychiatric evaluation, Ruppenkamp said in a telephone interview from the hospital late Tuesday.

The standoff in the parking lot lasted about 30 minutes, he said.

Ruppenkamp said the clinic's ceiling was damaged, but he had been told it would be open for business today.

No clinic personnel could be reached for comment.

Ruppenkamp said he has been a police officer for five years, and said this was the first time he had been involved in such a situation.

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