A 63-year-old man distraught over his mother's 2004 death at Columbus' Doctors Hospital came to the hospital armed with three guns Thursday and fatally shot three people, one of the registered nurse who had treated his mother, authorities said Thursday.
The suspect, whom Columbus Police Chief Ricky Boren identified as Charles Johnston of Columbus, engaged in a gunfight with three law enforcement officers in the hospital parking lot before he was wounded by a plainsclothed police detective, after which he was rushed into the hospital to be treated for his wounds. Shot in the shoulder, he was in satisfactory condition and under guard Thursday evening. Boren said he will face murder charges.
It was in the parking lot that Johnston shot in the head a man in a pickup truck, mortally wounding him. Initially listed in critical condition, that man later died, Boren said Thursday at 7 p.m.
Johnston is a retired school teacher in the Muscogee County District, Boren said.
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Boren said authorities were alerted by a 911 call at 2:17 p.m. He said Johnston used a 9 mm handgun in the shootings, though the suspect was armed also with two other handguns.
Johnston shot two workers on the hospital's fifth floor, one the male nurse who had treated his mother, Boren said. The nurse was killed. An administrative assistant wounded there died after surgery.
Johnston then went downstairs to the parking lot where a man pulled up in a pickup truck. Thinking the man was trying to stop him, Johnston shot the man in the head, Boren said.
Johnston then tried to leave in a Ford station wagon. A Muscogee deputy marshal responding to the 911 call came racing into the parking lot's west entrance and Johnston fired at the deputy, later identified as Alicia Davenport, authorities said. She fired back, but apparently missed.
A city police officer on a motorcycle then came into the parking lot's eastern entrance and Johnston fired at that officer, who also fired back but apparently did not hit the suspect, police said.
Then the detective came roaring into the lot in a Chevrolet Malibu, blocking Johnston's escape. Johnston also fired at the detective, and the detective shot back, hitting Johnston in the shoulder, Boren said.
Johnston was shot by a plain clothes policeman and is in satisfactory condition after surgery in the Medical Center. He is under guard.
At a news conference this afternoon, Boren said police received a call today that shots were fired at Doctors Hospital and units were dispatched.
Hospital officials said citizens can call 706-494-4057 for patient information.