WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WPTV/CNN) – A man accused of opening fire at a Veterans Affairs center emergency room in Florida was denied bond in federal court Thursday.
A doctor is being hailed as a hero after getting shot trying to stop the alleged gunman, a double amputee in a wheelchair.
The suspect, 59-year-old Army veteran Larry Bon, is charged with assaulting officers or employees with a deadly weapon after the FBI says he opened fire Wednesday evening inside the emergency room at the VA Medical Center in Riviera Beach, FL.
According to the FBI, Bon shot at least two people with a small handgun. One person was grazed by a bullet, and the doctor was shot in the neck while trying to subdue Bon, WPTV reports.
The doctor's injury was not life-threatening and he was treated and released from a hospital.
"I think that's heroic. I mean, very few people will do that," said Alisha Darcy, a patient of the VA and a former employee at the medical center. “That's a doctor taking care of his patients. That's a true doctor.”
Darcy resigned last November after nine years as a medical support assistant. She said security is lax at the medical center, and one of her biggest fears while working there was a shooting.
"You just go in, you walk in, you show the police aide your ID, and they wave you right through," she said. "I think security measures need to be implemented. I think more mental health staff needs to be provided after hours."
The American Federation of Government Employees, which represents 250,000 employees in the Department of Veterans Affairs, released a statement Thursday expressing similar concerns, saying in part: “While we are grateful that this incident was quickly contained, next time we might not be so lucky … [The union] will continue to fight to enhance security at our VA medical facilities, to protect both patients and their health care providers from dangerous incidents like this.”
Officials said Bon was admitted to the medical center under the Baker Act, a state law that lets police, judges and doctors order people who appear to be mentally ill and pose a danger to themselves or others for an involuntary psychiatric exam.
A judge has asked for a mental evaluation report for Bon, who is due back in court on March 7.
He could get up to two decades in federal prison if he’s convicted.