A medical patient shot and killed his doctor Tuesday while he was in an exam room in Tennessee, authorities said.
dr Benjamin Mauck was with Larry Pickens, 29, at a clinic in Collierville, outside of Memphis, when he was shot by Pickens with a handgun around 2:30 p.m., police said.
Pickens fled the Campbell Clinic but was arrested by police within five minutes. He was charged with first-degree murder and aggravated assault on Wednesday, police said.
“It’s horrible. Please pray for the victim and his family,” Collierville Police Chief Dale Lane said at a news conference.
Describing the incident as an isolated, targeted attack, Lane said police believe the gunman had an opportunity to harm others at the facility, but didn’t and “we don’t know why.” An alleged Motive not disclosed.
A witness at the scene of the shooting reported Local station WREG that a patient had threatened Mauck for the past week before the attack, although Lane said at Tuesday’s news conference that authorities were not aware of any threats before the shooting.
Collierville Police said there were no known previous incidents involving Pickens, but investigators were checking if outside authorities had previously run afoul of him.
His bail was set at $1.2 million by a judge on Wednesday.
Mauck was an orthopedic surgeon specializing in elbow, hand, and wrist surgery who, according to his clinic, earned an excellent 4.9 rating from his patients Online Biography. The clinic asked for prayers and privacy for Mauck’s family public comment which remembered him as a “respected and beloved” doctor.
The shooting is just the latest to target healthcare workers.
In May, a man opened fire in the waiting room of a medical facility in Atlanta, killing one woman and injuring four others. His lawyer said the 24-year-old suspect was suffering from mental health issues at the time of the attack.
Then, in 2022, a man armed with an AR-15 rifle and a handgun killed four people in a medical building in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Authorities said the gunman was targeting his surgeon, who was among those killed, due to persistent back pain following the operation. Police said the firearms were purchased shortly before the attack.
Tennessee State Senator Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis) called for tighter gun restrictions following the recent shootings in her state.
“For a decade Republicans have been relaxing gun laws in Tennessee, making our community more dangerous. Tragedies like this underscore the urgent need for common sense — like the reintroduction of background checks and gun licenses, and the introduction of new reforms like a protective order so police can confiscate firearms from a person who threatens others,” she said in a statement obtained by was caught The Tennessee Holler.
Akbari and other Democrats raised similar pleas In 2021, Collierville police responded to a mass shooting at a Kroger grocery store that left one person dead and twelve others injured.
Earlier this year, three children and three adults were killed in a shooting at a Nashville Christian school.