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June 2012
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Cause sought for patient, doctor gunfight

DARBY, Pa. - Authorities hope to learn Friday why a psychiatric patient allegedly killed a caseworker at a hospital complex outside Philadelphia and whether a psychiatrist who shot the patient with his own gun, wounding him, had feared the man.

The psychiatrist, Dr. Lee Silverman, was grazed in the temple during the gunfight in his office Thursday afternoon with patient Richard Plotts, Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan said.

"There were some issues between the doctor and the patient, but whether or not he actually feared him is unclear," Whelan said.

Plotts, 49, of Upper Darby, remained hospitalized in critical condition. He was expected to be arraigned on murder charges Friday at his hospital bedside in Philadelphia, said Emily Harris, Whelan's spokeswoman.

The slain caseworker, 53-year-old Theresa Hunt of Philadelphia, had accompanied Plotts to the psychiatric crisis center at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, just southwest of the city, authorities said.

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