A psychiatric person shoots up a psychiatric institute. A flight attendant disrupts a flight. A frequent court inquirer stabs a judge. An American solider kills civilians in Afghanistan.
If you step back from these incidents, you will observe the unusual irony underlining each of their roles in the sites of their actions. They all actually are extreme behavioral outbursts of people merely doing what they have routinely done, but this time, abnormally and violently.
On Wednesday, March 7, 2012, a man shoot and wounded several people at the Tulsa, Oklahoma courthouse before he was brought down by law enforcement officers' bullets.
Authorities on March 8th were investigating whether the suspected gunman wounded in a shootout near a Tulsa courthouse was trying to commit "suicide by cop" when he drew fire from sheriff's deputies, and they confirmed his brother was shot and killed in 2005 by police officers seeking to question him about a murder.
Investigators said they still didn't know exactly why Andrew Joseph Dennehy fired a handgun into the air Wednesday afternoon in a crowded plaza outside Tulsa County District Court. Dennehy, a sheriff's deputy and a bystander were wounded in the shootout.
"Clearly `suicide by cop' may enter into it," Tulsa police spokesman Jason Willingham said. "Anytime someone goes to a location where you know law enforcement is going to be present and takes out a weapon and fires shots, you have to know you're going to garner attention."
Dennehy's brother Brian Dennehy was shot and killed in August 2005 after investigators say he fired at an officer in the parking lot of a Tulsa apartment complex, Willingham said. Police said then that he was suspected in the beating death of his grandfather, Bernard Dennehy, in Oklahoma City.
Andrew Dennehy, 23, remained in critical condition Thursday, March 8th, at a Tulsa hospital, Willingham said. Police have said he is technically in custody but hasn't been formally charged with a crime.
Authorities identified the wounded deputy as David Fortenberry and the bystander who was shot as Ricardo Manuel, 28. Willingham said both had non-life threatening injuries, but their medical conditions weren't immediately known on Thursday. According to sheriff's office, Fortenberry was shot in both hands and arms.
In the case of Dennehy's brother, Brian, Tulsa police had received a request from Oklahoma City investigators for help in finding a homicide suspect who may have been in Tulsa. An officer found the vehicle of the suspect, identified as Brian Dennehy, and was approaching it when a man who was lying down in the back seat pointed a revolver and shot at the officer.
The officer returned fire, hitting Brian Dennehy twice in the upper torso and once in the head. He died at the scene.
As for Andrew Dennehy, who would have been a teenager when his brother was killed, investigators "may never know why he did what he did," Willingham said.
With brisk winds and unseasonably warm temperatures, it didn't seem too odd that Andrew Dennehy, shoeless and clad in a short-sleeve shirt and short pants, had sauntered onto the plaza between the courthouse and the Tulsa Central Library.
A wedding had ended on the plaza, and about seven family members were still gathered when shots rang out, said Angela Reudelhuber, 36, who ministered the wedding.
"The wedding just finished, and the bride and groom headed upstairs to turn in their marriage license," Reudelhuber said.
Reudelhuber dropped to the ground when she heard the gunshots about 20 feet away and then rushed inside.
Andrew Dennehy lay wounded and bleeding from his upper body onto the patchwork of concrete tiles.
"I'm thinking this is not the downtown I remember working in," said John Fancher, a communications specialist at the regional library who photographed the incident and shared his photographs with The Associated Press and other media outlets. "I start snapping off some shots, and he sits down, just casually sits down, gun in his hand and three sheriffs (deputies) come out of the courthouse and I can't hear what they're saying."
Thanks to Andrew Griffin for the tip.
John Shick, 30, opened fire shortly after entering the lobby of the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic on Thursday afternoon, March 8, 2012. The assailant walked through the psychiatric hospital's front door with a pair of semi-automatic 9mm handguns around 1:40 p.m. The gunman walked into the Pittsburgh psychiatric hospital and started shooting. Shick was shot and killed by police Thursday, but not before he killed hospital employee. Shick was killed by police officers who told the media they had trained for a Virginia Tech-style shooting.
One of the two 9mm handguns recovered was traced to New Mexico and the other was traced to Texas, the law enforcement source said. It was not known whether the weapons were legally purchased or how Shick allegedly came to have them. Investigators also recovered an extra box of ammunition. The guns generally hold about 15 rounds. It remained unclear how many rounds were fired before the suspect was killed by police.
Four people remained hospitalized on Friday, including a 46-year-old man listed in fair condition, a 64-year-old woman in serious condition, a 35-year-old man in good condition and a 49-year-old man in serious condition. A 54-year-old woman was released from the hospital Friday.
"This is a tragic day, a sad day, a senseless day," Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said after the shooting Thursday at the medical center.
Shick apparently had a history of legally changing his name. Records in Oregon, where he once lived, show he changed his name to either William Hudnpere Schols Kan or William Huhnpere Scholskan – it appears two different ways in court documents – in 2009. In early 2010, a person with that name and the same address as Shick was charged with assaulting a public safety officer. Then, in May 2010, Scholskan petitioned to change his name back to John Frederick Shick.
Calls to homes listed in the names of Shick's parents in Green Cove Springs, Florida, and San Jose, California, went unanswered Saturday.
Duquesne University spokeswoman Bridget Fare said Saturday that Shick was expelled from the school last November after harassment complaints. Shick enrolled in August as a graduate biology student, but soon numerous female students filed a formal complaint. The harassment never contained any threats or indication of violence.
"It was making them uncomfortable," Fare said of his persistent requests for dates or social contact.
Shick was relieved of his duties as a teaching assistant on October 21 and there was a hearing on the harassment charge on November 3. The school told Shick that he was prohibited from campus and from making contact with any of the women.
(3) Flight 2332, over the Midwest USA
An American Airlines flight attendant disrupted American Airlines Flight 2332, Friday morning, March 9, 2012, as it was about to take off from Dallas-Fort Worth en route to Chicago, saying over the aircraft intercom system that the plane was going to crash, alluding to 9/11 terrorist attacks and ranting about the airline's bankruptcy reorganization, passengers said.
The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed there was an "altercation" involving American Airlines Flight 2332, which eventually landed at Chicago O'Hare at 11:46 a.m., more than an hour late.
According to reports by passengers, the trouble began Friday morning as the plane taxied to the runway for takeoff. A flight attendant who had been giving preflight safety instructions began speaking incoherently over the intercom system, confusing and startling passengers.
American Airlines Flight 2232 had left the gate in Dallas and was taxiing when the flight attendant started a 15-minute rant over the plane's PA system.
"She said, 'I'm not responsible for this plane crashing,"' Bethany Christakos, passenger, said. "And that's when everybody started freaking out."
"She spoke in and out of Spanish. Talked about the flight crashing, that we were going to go back to the gate," Carolyn Kazmi, passenger, said.
"We were pretty frightened. We knew something was wrong. It was almost like she was talking and didn't realize the PA was on," Stephen Termunde, passenger, said.
"She had said, 'I'm the number one in charge,' something about 23 years being there, started talking about bankruptcy. But it really got everyone's attention when she said, 'There's a problem. We have to go back to the gate,'" Christakos said.
Other flight attendants interrupted and said there were no mechanical issues and that the plane was preparing for takeoff.
The upset flight attendant then said over the public-address system that it would not be her fault if the plane crashed. She began speaking in incomplete sentences, using the words "bankruptcy" and "American Airlines," passengers said. She also referred to the 9/11 terrorist attacks at one point, passengers said.
Some passengers then began using mobile phones to call 911.
Other flight attendants on the plane attempted to calm the woman, but she continued to be agitated. Three or four passengers then left their seats and went to the front of the plane to help restrain her as the plane returned to the gate, a move requested by the pilot, the Federal Aviation Administration confirmed.
An airport official in Dallas said he does not expect any charges to be filed against the flight attendant.
(4) Washington State
In 2008, Steven Kravetz was convicted in Lewis County, Washington State, of third degree assault and making false or misleading statements to a public servant. He served 102 days on the charges. In that incident, Kravetz was arrested after he refused to cooperate with police after being kicked out of a Centralia public library.
On Friday, March 9, 2012, Kravetz was reported to be acting strangely at the Grays Harbor District Court. Around lunchtime Friday, Deputy Polly Davin responded to a report of a suspicious person at the courthouse and confronted a man (Kravetz). During a struggle, she was stabbed with either a small knife or scissors. Judge David Edwards intervened, striking the assailant, who then stabbed him. Davin reached for her gun, but it was wrestled away by Kravetz, who shot twice, striking her in the shoulder before fleeing.
A United States service member (an Army staff sergeant) walked out of a military base in a rural district of southern Afghanistan on early Sunday, March 11, 2012 (local times) and opened fire on three nearby houses, killing at least 16 civilians, including several children, local villagers and provincial officials said.
Villagers in Belandi in the Panjway district of Kandahar, where the shooting took place, said the service member had attacked three houses, killing at least 16 in total. Five other villagers were wounded, they said.
The governor of Kandahar Province, Tooryalai Wesa, condemned the shooting, although he could not immediately confirm the number of people killed. A coalition spokesman in Kabul, Capt. Justin Brockhoff, said that it was not clear what had led to the incident. He said the civilians wounded in the shooting were taken to a coalition hospital where they were being treated.
One of the houses attacked in the village belonged to a tribal elder, according to a person from the village. “We don’t know why he killed people,” said the villager, Aminullah, who like many Afghans goes by a single name. Aminullah said the soldier was alone. “There was no fighting or attacks.”
The soldier has not yet been identified.