Published March 27, 2008
| Associated Press
COLUMBUS, Ga. – A retired teacher bearing a grudge over his mother's medical treatment at the hospital where she died fatally shot one of her nurses and another employee Thursday, then killed a man outside before police shot him, authorities said.
Charles Johnston, 63, is being charged with three counts of murder and will be turned over to police after an overnight stay in another hospital, where he was treated for a shoulder wound, Police Chief Ricky Boren said.
The chief said the gunman arrived at Doctors Hospital with three pistols, including a 9mm automatic and a .38-caliber revolver, and went to the fifth-floor intensive care unit where his mother had been in 2004.
"He blamed a male nurse. He didn't think his mother had been properly cared for," Boren said.
Boren gave the following account:
Johnston overheard someone call the nurse's name, then waited until he went into an empty room, where he confronted him, saying: "Do you remember me? Do you remember my mother?"
He shot him once; the nurse started to run, then fell in the hall after being shot again.
When the gunman started to leave, an administrative secretary entered the area, saying, "Where did he go?" As he rounded a corner, he was shot, too, Boren said.
The gunman started to take an elevator but finding it too slow went down the stairs.
As he was getting into his car in the parking lot, another car pulled in facing his, and the driver was shot as he got out of the vehicle.
A city deputy marshal arrived in the parking lot; he fired at her and she shot back, but neither was hit. A plainclothes detective blocked the gunman's car, and when Johnston pulled a gun, the detective shot him, Boren said.
Johnston, who used to teach school, appears to be in satisfactory condition after surgery, Boren said.
Columbus is in western Georgia, on the Alabama line.