Doctor subdues shooter at West Palm Beach VA Medical Center

FBI says doctor wounded in emergency room shooting

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. – After a double amputee started shooting in the emergency room of the West Palm Beach VA Medical Center, a doctor turned into a hero, FBI agents said.

The doctor subdued the 59-year-old shooter, Larry Ray Bon, before he could continue to fire his weapon Wednesday night. FBI Special Agent Justin Fleck said the doctor, who was the only one wounded, was brave. 

"During the shooting, in between shots, the doctor saw an opportunity to jump on the suspect and disarm him," Fleck said. 

Bon had managed to hide the gun under his wheelchair's cushion when he passed through security Wednesday morning. He remained combative for hours and was about to undergo a mental health evaluation about 6:20 p.m. when he pulled out the gun.

Bon, who served in the U.S. Army in the 1970s, had a warrant out for his arrest in Michigan. He was uncooperative during his arrest. 

A bullet grazed a VA employee who suffered a minor injury and the doctor was injured in the neck. The doctor's colleagues were treated at St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach and released. 

Riviera Beach police were called to assist the Department of Veterans Affairs police and the FBI at the 217-bed facility.

The medical center has been providing care to military veterans since 1995. According to Mary Kay Rutan, a VA public information officer, the medical center was operational Wednesday night and appointments were set to go on as scheduled Thursday. 

About the Authors:

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.

Christian De La Rosa joined Local 10 News in April 2017 after spending time as a reporter and anchor in Atlanta, San Diego, Orlando and Panama City Beach.