SAN DIEGO — A Rady Children’s Hospital staffer was placed on leave earlier this month and police seized 13 guns from his home after he reportedly told co-workers he would “shoot the place up” and “kill us all,” according to court documents obtained Friday.
A search of the staffer’s home last week also turned up 136,000 rounds of ammunition. The 54-year-old was taken for psychiatric evaluation last week and placed on a three-day hold, police confirmed Friday. He was not arrested, but police are investigating.
The reported threats prompted the hospital to obtain a restraining order barring him from the hospital. A court document the hospital filed as part of the request for the order states that co-workers heard the staffer make statements like, “I’m just going to come back here and shoot the place up and going to kill us all.”
The concerns prompted San Diego police and the city attorney’s office to obtain a gun violence restraining order, which allows police to temporarily seize weapons from people deemed a threat.
Authorities at the hospital declined Friday to discuss specifics, citing personnel and pending legal matters, but issued a statement that read: “In response to a potential safety concern directed at specific employees, Rady Children’s main campus is currently on heightened security status.
“We have taken steps to assure safety for patients, staff and visitors, including working closely with law enforcement,” the statement read.
The city attorney’s office has obtained hundreds of gun violence restraining orders in the last two years. In a statement to The San Diego Union-Tribune, City Attorney Mara Elliott said the matter at the children’s hospital is “just one of hundreds of dangerous situations that have been prevented” with such orders.
“We are aggressively pursuing a GVRO (gun violence restraining order) in this case to protect the employees, those who visit the hospital and any others who come into contact with this individual,” Elliott said.
In the case of the Rady matter, authorities moved quickly. Less than 15 hours elapsed from the time the staffer was escorted off the hospital grounds until the time police searched his home and seized weapons.
According to filings in the two restraining order cases, a co-worker raised concerns about the staffer on Feb. 6, citing aggressive behavior and fear of working with him. The following morning, at 10 a.m. Feb. 7, hospital officials had the worker escorted off the campus.
An administrator spent the next several hours interviewing staffers who said they were “afraid and frightened” of the man, according to a declaration in the court file. Staffers told the administrator that the man spoke of owning guns, and feared he “would one day act in a violent manner due to his instability and anger.” There was also a reported threat targeting a specific hospital employee.
The administrator stopped the interviews by 3:15 p.m. and brought his concerns to senior management. Police were called.
By 10 p.m. that night, a judge granted the Police Department’s request to issue a gun violence emergency protective order.
Two and a half hours later, police had already searched his home and seized 13 weapons, which a spokeswoman for the city attorney said included several handguns. The spokeswoman also said about 136,000 rounds of ammunition were found and seized.
On Monday, the next day the court was open, the hospital sought a restraining order. A judge granted it the same day.
Both orders are temporary. A hearing on the gun violence order is set for Feb. 28.
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