St. Francis Country House in Darby, Delaware County, was the scene of police activity Wednesday afternoon, July 30, after a Darby man made threats of gun violence at the nursing facility and the adjacent Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital.
According to an archdiocesan source, workers with Mercy Home Health Care were visiting a man who had a dispute over prescription medications. He vowed to go to Mercy Fitzgerald and St. Francis Country House and “start shooting.”
The workers immediately contacted the long-term nursing facility, whose administrator, John Chapman, called Darby police.
Officers arrived and cleared visitors and staff from the front of the building, guarded all entrances and exits and performed a security sweep throughout the building. As of late afternoon they had withdrawn from the facility.
Darby police were taking the threat seriously and were actively seeking the man, about whom no other information was available.
St. Francis is a 273-bed skilled nursing care facility that also offers short-term rehabilitation services, according to its website. It was not known whether the man previously used the services of St. Francis or Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital.
The hospital made news last week when a gunman, Richard Plotts, allegedly killed one person and wounded two others before he was shot by a physician. The shooting occurred at the psychiatric building on the hospital’s campus.
In a statement, the hospital said it was “thankful for the swift action of Dr. Lee Silverman, Dr. Jeffrey Dekret, John D’Alonzo and the other colleagues and visitors who took brave and difficult action” during the shooting July 24. Silverman was the psychiatrist who shot and wounded Plotts, who remains in custody.
The hospital said it was “reviewing our policies and procedures to ensure a safe environment. We are committed to serving as a compassionate and healing presence in our communities, and we are grateful for the outpouring of community support.”