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Gunman shoots self in NJ ER lobby

He pulled out a gun and shot himself in the head; people hid and frantically ran, but he made no move to harm anyone besides himself

By Angelo Fichera
The Philadelphia Inquirer

WOODBURY, N.J. — A gunman sent hospital visitors fleeing the emergency-room lobby at Inspira Medical Center in Woodbury on Thursday morning, but the only person harmed was the gunman himself.

The 26-year-old man fatally shot himself in the head in the lobby about 11:40 a.m., authorities said.

"We all hid behind the brick wall," recalled a woman, who was walking toward the emergency-room entrance just after the shooting. The wall separates the walk-in entrance from the ambulance driveway.

She said she saw about five people frantically rushing out. The woman refused to give her name because she does business with the hospital and was not authorized to speak about the incident.

The victim, whom authorities did not identify, was taken to Cooper University Hospital, the regional trauma center. He was pronounced dead about 5:15 p.m., police said.

There were no other injuries reported.

The gun was recovered, and there were no lockdowns or evacuations at Inspira. No details were provided about the man or why he harmed himself at the hospital.

Woodbury Police Sgt. Thomas Ryan said there were a handful of people in the lobby at the time.

"He didn't say anything," Ryan said of the victim. "He produced a handgun and shot himself in the head."

The lobby, he said, is accessible to the public.

Inspira spokesman Greg Potter said there was a "security presence" in the room, but could not say how many security guards were at the scene.

Between the time of the shooting and about 1:30 p.m., all ambulances were diverted to other emergency rooms, Potter said. Support was offered to staff members who witnessed the shooting.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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