PALM BAY, Fla. – A man who was recently fired from a Florida hospital fired shots inside its cafeteria Thursday and then barricaded himself in a room before killing himself, authorities said. No one else was injured.
John Jack, 39, from Melbourne, Fla., had been threatening people and pointing the gun at them inside the preparation area in the cafeteria at Palm Bay Hospital before he took shelter, Palm Bay police spokeswoman Yvonne Martinez said. He was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after a 3½-hour standoff, she said.
Hospital spokesman Elliot Cohen said Jack worked at the hospital about two years until he was fired last month, in part because of a poor attendance record.
Police said Jack had a history of mental illness and was having issues with his property manager, who called police to report Jack was drunk, driving a motorcycle and distraught. Investigators also said Jack sent text messages to friends that read, "goobye."
"It appears he came to the hospital to say goodbye to his friends with whom he once worked," Palm Bay police detective Michael Pusatere said in a statement. "It does not appear he made threats to employees during this time. In fact, several of them attempted to console him at which time he displayed the firearm."
The standoff created a chaotic scene around the hospital.
Police shut down the streets around the hospital, and some patients' family and friends gathered outside searching for information. A bomb squad with a robot was stationed outside the hospital, a 152-bed, nonprofit facility on Florida's Space Coast that offers outpatient and inpatient services.
But there were no evacuations because the part of the hospital the man was barricaded in was isolated. Surgeries and other operations went on as scheduled, Cohen said.
SWAT team members had the room surrounded, and a crisis negotiation team had tried to communicate with Jack. After a few hours and still no word, police said they went into the room and found his body. It was unclear how long he was dead.
The standoff comes almost a year to the day since a man stormed a downtown Orlando office of his former employer, killing a one-time colleague and wounding five others. The accused gunman from that Nov. 6, 2009, shooting, Jason Rodriguez, is awaiting trial.