Patient waving gun causes scare at Florida Hospital East

No one injured; man taken into custody

ORLANDO, Fla. – A patient at Florida Hospital East in Orlando caused a scare early Friday when he was spotted waving a gun in the air in a hallway, deputies said.

No shots were fired and no one was injured in the incident, which was reported at 2:03 a.m. at the hospital on Lake Underhill Road.

According to Orange County sheriff's spokesman Jeff Williamson, deputies received a call about a gunman inside the hospital, which was placed on lockdown.

A witness said a message was played on the PA system inside Florida Hospital East.

"Shooter in the building. Shooter in the building," said the witness, describing the alert. 

Deputies arrived at the hospital about five minutes after receiving the call and discovered an elderly patient who possibly suffers from dementia standing in a hallway and holding a gun.

The man threatened to harm himself, Williamson said. He did not threaten or point the gun at anyone else, deputies said.

He surrendered without incident and was taken into custody, Williamson said. He may face charges, deputies said.

The gun and a knife were recovered, deputies said.

It's not known how long the man has been a patient or how he got the gun inside the hospital.

Authorities conducted a room by room search, but nothing suspicious was discovered.

The lockdown was lifted, and hospital operations were returned to normal.

Florida Hospital East later issued a statement.

“We applaud our nursing and security staffs, as well as the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, for their swift response at Florida Hospital East Orlando (Friday) morning. Because of their quick action, no patients or employees were injured.

"As of (Friday) morning, the patient has been moved to a different room, is guarded by security personnel and is being further evaluated by medical staff. Due to federal privacy laws, we cannot comment on the patient’s medical status.

"Rest assured, the safety of our patients, visitors and employees is utmost importance. We have many measures in place -- visible and nonvisible -- to ensure the wellbeing of all who visit our hospitals."

Watch News 6 and stay with ClickOrlando.com for updates.

About the Author: