How Did That Happen? – Florida VA Doctor Shot by Patient In a Gun-Free Zone

Florida VA hospital doctor shot gun-free zone

courtesy wptv.com

Hospitals in virtually every state — particularly federally-owned hospitals — are designated gun-free zones. There are signs posted everywhere letting everyone who enters know it. And yet…

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A double-amputee Army veteran shot and wounded a doctor just before a mental health evaluation at a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Florida, authorities said.

Larry Ray Bon, 59, of Michigan, arrived at the VA Medical Center in Riviera Beach on Wednesday morning and was combative for hours, according to the FBI. Authorities said Bon was taken to the emergency room that evening for the mental health evaluation, when he pulled out a gun and shot the doctor in the neck.

“During the shooting, in between shots, the doctor saw an opportunity to jump on the suspect and disarm him,” Justin Fleck, the assistant special agent in charge for the FBI’s Miami office, said in a Palm Beach Post report .

“He’s a pretty heroic individual and probably saved a lot of lives,” Fleck said.

It was not clear how Bon was able to bring the gun into the hospital.

Another hospital employee was grazed by a bullet. VA spokeswoman Mary Kay Rutan says the doctor was treated at a West Palm Beach hospital and released. The doctor’s name was not released.

The medical center was scheduled to open for scheduled appointments Thursday.

Bon, who has had both his legs amputated and uses an electric wheelchair, served in the Army in the 1970s, but investigators were not aware of him having any combat-related conditions, Fleck said.

Bon refused to cooperate after he was taken into custody, authorities said.

According to online court records, Bon’s only history in Palm Beach County’s legal system was a case in small claims court in 2017 that was dismissed. His name did not appear in county jail records.

Really? It’s not clear how Bon was able to bring the gun into the hospital?

We’ll say it once again for those in the media, our friends in the gun control community and those who are slow on the uptake (yes, there’s a lot of cross-over there). Criminals — and, in this case, the mentally disturbed — don’t comply with gun-free zone signs.

Depending on signs, laws, orders of protection, felony convictions and the like to keep people safe and gun out of the hands of those who are prohibited is dangerous and foolhardy.

That’s why there are now over 17 million people with concealed carry licenses in the US. And that doesn’t count the growing number of people who live in states where a permit isn’t needed.

The only people who are stopped by gun-free zones are the law-abiding. That leaves them vulnerable to those who couldn’t care less about signs or laws.

Got it?

Good news, the physician was reportedly treated and released from another hospital.

comments

  1. avatar Sam says:

    Because the VA sucks and old people are tired of their shit? Remember the abortion doctor shot and killed in Pensacola in the ’90s? People don’t think FL be like it is, but it do…

    1. avatar HuntingtonGuy says:

      Thanks for the enlightenment. Glad to know this was the VA’s fault and not some guy who it sounds like was mentally ill.
      Use the VA, don’t use VA, IDGAF, but responses like yours keep the old “VA sucks” mantra going.
      Even if the guy was having a bad day at the VA I missed the part where that makes it ok to shoot the Doc.
      Blaming VA here is like blaming the LGS when someone uses a gun they bought there to do a crime.

      And yep, I’m a service connected combat vet who uses VA.

      1. avatar Manse Jolly says:

        I think it’s maybe regional? or maybe certain facilities are better than others. I dunno.

        We just got a new VA clinic in our town and it and the staff are doing a good job IMO. I get seen couple times a year.

        1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          Manse Jolly,

          I think it is largely location specific. My father and my father-in-law have both gone to the local VA hospital many times and even for multiple surgeries and they seemed to get pretty decent care. Both are still alive!

      2. avatar GasMD says:

        Thank you Huntingtonguy, for sticking up for the VA! I am a physician at a VA and when I talk to my patients for the most part many are very appreciative of the care they receive at the VA, and state they don’t appreciate the bad wrap it gets. Just as with everything in life, there are a few bad apples in the VA, but that doesn’t mean the entire system stinks. In fact, several articles in medical journals were recently published that looked into the VA compared to community hospitals and found that care was just as good, if not better, in certain areas of medicine.

        1. avatar Klaus Von Schmitto says:

          Quality of care is or was definitely facility by facility. In the eighties at least. Gainesville was super. Couldn’t ask for a better hospital. Pensacola was also great. Birmingham had large rats running around all over the place, urine and feces on the floor and they would really let you die there.

      3. avatar BigMikeU says:

        I get it my grandfather was always treated at the VA in our area of N.J. and the place was a shi_hole…….but later in life i moved to Delaware with my 1st wife and my father-in-law was under the care of a doctor in that VA and it seemed great.Although he died alone and his body was cold by the time my wife”his daughter” found him dead in his room.Its quite sad that the man died alone and nobody knew until the mans own daughter showed up to visit him and he was “cold”!!!? but they have come a long way in the short time that “Trump” has been our President!!! But thank GOD we have better people that actually care working in the VA system now!Im not complaining about the VA im just giving you facts that i saw years ago so dont shoot the messenger?! lol

    2. avatar Kevin says:

      Nice use of the English language

    3. avatar B7 says:

      I lived the UK for two years and had to use the NIS. I have to tell you the US VA certainly beats the heck out of other supposedly first world national health services.

      But in this case let’s get back to the issue. The problem is gun free zones make it free fire zones for bad guys. GFZ illustrate the insanity and irrational argument of the gun control pushers: they think GFZ or any gun control will stop bad guys — when all the evidence says it does not, and quite often enables them.

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        GFZs are mere virtue signaling. Declarations of moral superiority. It’s the same as the childhood thoughts that “If I can’t see you, you can’t see me.”

  2. avatar John in Ohio says:

    Oh my goodness, I do miss Riviera Beach. It was quite the *interesting* place. lol

    1. avatar Dick Giddings says:

      Ah yes. We pulled into Riviera Beach Marina to get some repairs to our boat. The staff informed us not to go outside the gates at night. What? This is like, West Palm Beach? Yeah. Don’t drive around with your windows open at night, just keep a low profile, and you will probably be alright. We got outa there.

      1. avatar John in Ohio says:

        Yup. That sounds about right.

    2. avatar GS650G says:

      It was a shithole 25 years ago when I lived in Florida and I’m sure it’s worse today.

      1. avatar John in Ohio says:

        No need to insult shitholes but, yeah, I don’t doubt that it is.

  3. avatar ROBERT Powell says:

    there were many BLANKS in this story ..life-long-democrat??, was the doctor a quack?? how long was the shooter waiting to be seen? this story sounds like a democrat blanked out ANTI-GUN attempt…

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      The fact that you immediately try to jump on the nut’s voting record says more about you than it does about him.

  4. avatar John in Ohio says:

    Should’ve been a DGU. Grouchy old guy shoots doc in the neck. Somebody, perhaps bleeding doc, shoots grouchy old guy, sending him to G-d to sort out. A whole lot of problems solved in a short amount of time and no government involvement needed or desired.

    1. avatar Miner49er says:

      Yes, instant death penalty for the veteran who is having mental distress, that sounds like the patriotic, support the troops solution.

      I take it you never served, or knew anyone who served under difficult circumstances?

      Actually, this case may support ‘red flag’ laws. Were there earlier signs that he may be having mental issues, were there people in his life or professionals who knew he may be a danger to himself or others?

      And most importantly, thanks to the brave Doctor who serves a difficult population and was ready to step up and stop the danger even though he was gravely wounded. I’m glad to hear that folks like him are serving our veterans at the VA.

      1. avatar John in Ohio says:

        I’ve taken the oath. Shoot someone without justification and you get what you get. My comment still stands.

      2. avatar John in Ohio says:

        Good people, bad people, and all those in between serve. Stop your hero worship, including self worship, and take your head out of your ass for a moment. When someone shoots another without obvious justification, their mental history is of little to no consequence in the moment.

    2. avatar Chris Mallory says:

      Right, because killing a man instead of disarming him was clearly the best option here. You must be a cop, don’t see too many who aren’t as self righteous as you are.

      1. avatar John in Ohio says:

        Nope. Wrong on many accounts. I’m as far from a cop as you could possibly get and not be in prison. You are waaaaaaaaaaay off base on that one.

        I’m glad that he was disarmed. The outcome is fine with me. What I was pointing out was that if it wasn’t a “gun free zone”, nature might have taken its course. That’s life and there’s nothing wrong with it. I can see the advantages in both possible outcomes.

        Do I need to repeat myself?
        “Stop your hero worship, including self worship, and take your head out of your ass for a moment. When someone shoots another without obvious justification, their mental history is of little to no consequence in the moment.”
        “A whole lot of problems solved in a short amount of time and no government involvement needed or desired.”

        Unless you have changed and now embrace government involvement?

  5. avatar Ranger Rick says:

    How is this violation of the law possible, clearly boardering on the edge of “fake news”.

    1. avatar Miner49er says:

      The same reason even though we have laws against speeding even though there are many people who speed. People break the law, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have laws, correct?

      Or are you suggesting as soon as someone breaks a law we should repeal the law and let everyone do as they will. Interesting idea of civilization.

      1. avatar Ranger Rick says:

        We have laws for everything from “speeding to homicide which have varying degrees of success depending on the location, the people involved as well as the cost breaking those laws. For example the immigration laws of this country as they are currently enforced.

        In regards to “Gun Free Zones”, they only seem to work if people care to respect them, if they’re enforced by invasive inspections and then backed up by armed security. Even then it may not be enough as at LAX. The result is defenseless people at the mercy of killer(s).

        Many politicians and people believe that the declaration of a law that will only be followed by regular folks is enough to ensure safety. I feel no more secure because of “Gun Free Zones”, “Enhanced Background Checks” or “Waiting Periods”.

      2. avatar DaveL says:

        This is a very flawed analogy. Speed limit laws are intended to reduce accidents between well-intentioned, reasonably responsible people. If 95% of drivers are responsible and conscientious, and follow the speed limit at least more-or-less, then accidents are reduced, their severity is reduced, and lives are saved regardless of what the other 5% do.

        But guns are not like speeding. The damage from shootings is almost entirely due to intentional acts, perpetrated by people with a lot worse on their minds than breaking a safety rule. It’s not at all clear that disarming the more responsible and conscientious segment of the population would have any impact on the damage being done.

  6. avatar James T Matters says:

    There are no gun free zones; just self-defense free zones.

    1. avatar Craig says:

      “There are no gun free zones; just self-defense free zones.”

      The money quote of the day.

      1. avatar Manse Jolly says:

        Actually not a bad idea.

        If someone could come up with a ‘No Self-Defense Allowed’ warning sign or sticker.

        Slap a sticker next to the usual ‘No Guns Allowed’ sign as you walk by or enter the business.

        Maybe if enough of us did that people would think about it more critically rather than “”gunz bad, hurt my feelz”.”

        just a passin thought..

        1. avatar UpInArms says:

          I like it! Where can I buy some stickers? (hint to some enterprising printers…)

  7. avatar mark s. says:

    I never go anywhere without my carry piece unless they screen me at the entrance with a metal detector or other type of scanner .
    If someone finds out I’m carrying , they just throw me out and that’s that .

    1. avatar PosseMan says:

      Depends on the locality—in some, if you are caught, that’s a felony charge, not just a “toss-out”.

    2. avatar Mike C. says:

      Unfortunately, if you get caught at the V.A. Medical Center with a firearm it is a federal felony!

      1. avatar mark s says:

        Yes , I stand corrected and my statement now amended ……………… I do read the signs .

  8. avatar NORDNEG says:

    There’s a lot of crappy doctors out there,,, they probably don’t need to be shot, but , just saying, I myself have had run ins with bad ones,,,I just get a different doctor…. If the cripple was acting weird, they should have had a security person watching him, they do that in my state.

  9. avatar possum says:

    Oh ho that is funny. Bon didn’t work it right, the last mental health eval I had ended up with the Doc crash landing his car into a freight train. That’s how you work it

  10. avatar Dbag says:

    He was shot at the VA hospital, so they took him to another hospital for treatment.

    Classic.

    1. avatar Mantitude says:

      He actually wanted medical help.

    2. avatar Robert says:

      The next appointment was a least six months away. He did not want to wait.

    3. avatar EnDangerEd says:

      He didn’t trust any of the available Docs that he knew… That sez a whole bunch!

  11. avatar Jay in Florida says:

    I went in for jury duty today. You would think from the number of signs it was a gun free zone.
    I left mine home and felt nekkid.
    Wonder if criminals going to court see those signs??
    Why in heck do I have to leave my gun home?? When Im going to court to be in a jury. Do they think Im going to shoot some Jaywalker or something??

    1. avatar John in Ohio says:

      They trust your judgement on something as complex as serving on a jury but not on something so simple as “am I going to shoot someone in cold blood or not”. That’s government for ya.

      If one cannot be trusted not to murder someone then how can one be trusted to decide a defendant’s fate?

  12. avatar TexTed says:

    >>Why in heck do I have to leave my gun home?? When Im going to court to be in a jury. Do they think Im going to shoot some Jaywalker or something??<<

    The general mindset, as I understand it, is that courtrooms are extraordinarily emotional places, and very high-stakes places. So while it may or may not be about you going bonkers and shooting someone, it may also be about the notion that there are desperate criminals (almost by definition) in the room, and if they were to spot a gun on you, it might lead to a situation that our overlords would otherwise have prevented by keeping your gun out of the courtroom in the first place.

    1. avatar retmsgt says:

      Had jury duty, court house is a gun free zone. But, in Pennsylvania they’re required to provide storage for your handgun, so I checked it in every morning and picked it back up before leaving the court house every evening. Deputies providing security thought nothing of it.

      1. avatar Manse Jolly says:

        We had that option at the courthouse, but now since they remodeled and tore out the wall of lock boxes, the bailiffs tell you to go put it in your car. Would rather have lock boxes back.

      2. avatar Jay in Florida says:

        Even in NY you can check in your gun at the Court entrance.
        No such option here in Palm Beach County just a ton of super size large signs.
        Of course I understand why they don’t want guns in a court.
        But by the same token. More armed cops in a court house then in a cop house.
        As usual no need to worry about a law abiding person. But they do so they can.

        1. avatar Victoria Illinois says:

          In Chicago they had a problem with those lockers outside of court house. The druggies would put their ‘product’ in there, and the ‘buyer’ would pick it up there. Funny. Only the good guys were inconvenienced.

  13. avatar Thinker1 says:

    Ok. The Dr can pretend he was safe the whole time.

  14. avatar Hannibal says:

    “A double-amputee Army veteran shot and wounded a doctor just before a mental health evaluation…”

    Did he pass?

    1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

      “Did he pass?”

      He did not pass ‘Go’, he did collect a stay in the pokey…

  15. avatar Fully Involved says:

    Targeting “gun-free zones” needs to be our next big collective push-back.
    The way I see it, there are one of 2 options:
    1) Officially-approved “Gun-free zones” are required to have thoroughly-trained armed security that screen everyone entering the “gun-free zone” as well as a means of securing people’s firearms.
    2) If the above is deemed too inconvenient or cost-prohibitive, then the public MUST be allowed to carry in that area as they would in any other public place according to the state’s or city’s laws. If a person is discovered to be carrying, then they may be asked to leave the property or face tresspassing violations (as is customary for any other disruption), but no other legal action can be taken against them as a direct result of them simply carrying a firearm.

    Half-assed attempts by putting up a sign and doing nothing else only gets people hurt.

    1. avatar Victoria Illinois says:

      It’s all because the sign isn’t big enough….or it’s written in the wrong language…or…or…

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        “It’s all because the sign isn’t big enough….or it’s written in the wrong language…or…or…”

        Not big enough, too few, not written in the thirty-nine major languages, void of neon characters and/or flood lights, not impervious to weathering/fading.

        That’s why the signs fail to stop “gun crime”.

  16. avatar O.T. says:

    My son in law had a LOUSY VA doctor here in Montana. The DR over prescribed medication and he died from a over dose. My daughter tried to bring legal action against the DR and the VA to no avail. My son is a veteran with health problems and has been trying to get a appointment with the VA since January and will not be seen until JULY. Fortunately I have private insurance and of not have to rely on the VA. The DR I have been seeing at the VA gives me the impression he could care less about my medical problems.
    I have had 3 surgeries in the past 4 years and the VA could care less and I was able to have them very quickly with outstanding service from my private Dr’s.

    DO NOT TRUST THE VA DOCTORS

    1. avatar SoBe says:

      Really???? All VA doctors?

      1. avatar chuck... says:

        When ALL VA doctors, even if it is only one or two, that a patient sees seem to be inattentive, detached, or incompetent then YES it is ALL VA doctors. Given the reportedly long lead times to get an appointment (months or weeks? ) can make it worse.

  17. avatar Sam I Am says:

    Oh, yeah. Along with 2’x2′ GFZ signs placed no more than 48 inches apart, 48 inches from the ground/floor, any building sporting GFZ signs must have TSA style entry control points, staffed by LEOs. Else, no one has authority of any kind to declare a GFZ.

    Put up, or shut up.

  18. avatar Joe Matafome says:

    The poor bad guy must not have understood that it’s illegal to carry a firearm on VA property and that he’s not supposed to shoot or murder his doctor. We should pass a new law that people need to learn about our current laws and that they must obey said laws at all times. Very simple solution.

  19. avatar SoBe says:

    When I came to South Florida to negotiate purchasing my current practice, the surgeon covering my patients in Washington, DC, was shot by one of my patients. Turns out my patients was an inmate and he decided to attempt an escape, stole the firearm from the corrections officer and shot the doctor. Obviously my former patient did not comprehend the concept of gun free zones, nor the concept of firearm possession by prohibited persons, nor the concept of “universal background checks” (which was not an issue then). So, why should I, as a legal firearms owner (per US Constitution) and a legal firearms concealed carrier per Florida law be at fault except for not having been there to stop the armed assault. Oh!!! I forgot that happened in DC, good thing I was in Florida. Otherwise I would have been the victim without a chance of self defense.

  20. avatar Klaus Von Schmitto says:

    I hope that Doctor bought few PowerBall tickets. Take one in the neck and out near the base of the skull and gets released the same day? That is one lucky bastard.

  21. avatar LeadFinger says:

    It is hard to be sure, but my guess is the Doc deserved it.

  22. avatar Jerome Joseph Kavanaugh says:

    I went to the VT VA when I retired in ’96 and didn’t go back for years. In 2002 I had to go for benefits issue and found it was 180 degrees out from nearly ten years earlier. I went to work at that VA in 2003 and retired in 2016. Oh, I was a VA Police Training Officer and most of the men and women I worked with in the police were Vets or at least prior military and so were trained to deal with fellow Vets and GIs who “ate some of the same dirt” as they did. There was and remains a MAJOR crack between uniformed armed federal officers in the hospital and the medical staff who have had what amounts to years of indoctrination in their education where guns=death=bad ALWAYS. The Director told the VA Police his hospital would be the last one to get armed even after several incidents with guns and knives coming in. In the end we were the third from last to get sidearms of 170-odd facilities with armed officers. In my experience, senior staff is always over worried about their image and often vetoed any training they remotely thought would make the hospital (and them) look bad. I tried to set up and do personal search training for suspects in wheelchairs and was forbidden from doing so… as one Doc who was usually pretty supportive said; “can you imagine if a pic of you guys doing this ever got on the internet!” Between that attitude and the slow change in the new-hire police NOT having any military background and being taught to ENFORCE THE LAW (Title 38 C.F.R.) instead of keeping the peace as members of a “Treatment “Team” made early retirement a very attractive decision. At this point I still use that VA as my primary healthcare…
    Oh, and for the record ALL federal facilities and reservations are Gun, Knife, and Weapons Free Zones under Federal Law, yes- even military bases. If the VA has a clinic in a civilian facility- that space operates under Federal Law 100% of the time but MAY have concurrent jurisdiction with local police on a case by case basis. Just look at the signs on the driveways into federal facilities.

  23. avatar Kap says:

    Yes the VA has problems but they are not the cause of shooting problems, blame the Democrats and their treasonous actions against us the citizens in their quest for totalitarian control over our lives, Democrats support free everything for non citizens while de-funding the VA and social security but they sure support seditious actions and support the Communist themes!

  24. avatar Mike C. says:

    The shooter was admitted for a mental health problem under Florida’s Baker Act, or Marchman Act, law. The protocol under the law is that the patient should have had his personal possessions removed and inventoried and anything that could be used as a weapon or to harm the patient should have been removed from the room. I definitely blame the V.A. for not following the law. I have had great care 90% of the time at the W.P.B. V.A. it all depends on the doctor that you are assigned. Veterans also need to know that if they have a problem they can contact a patient advocate for help and they will assist with solving any problems with the V.A. staff or facility. The biggest thing that I dislike about visiting the V.A. is that I have to disarm myself whenever I visit. I have been carrying concealed for 27 years now and hate the fact that to get my healthcare I have to go through one of the worst neighborhoods to a facility that has a percentage of patients that have severe mental and or drug problems, without the ability to defend myself is worrying to me. I have personally witnessed several of the patients assault their fellow veterans for no good reason and at least one patient was the perpetrator of a mass shooting with 49 dead and another 53 wounded. It is only a matter of time before someone decides to target the V.A. Medical Center with all of the defensless Veterans. Remember Gun Free Zones only stop law abiding citizens, not criminals!

  25. avatar Roger Rutherford says:

    I am 65 years old and have been in the Central Arkansas Veterans Health care system for four years. The care and treatment from this team has been second to none. I was diagnosed with Prostate cancer and everything was taken care of in a professional and timely manner. Everyone from the janitors to the professional staff have been first rate courteous and helpful.

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