Gunman in Pa. clinic shooting previously committed

March 13, 2012 - 2:05 PM

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The gunman in a fatal shooting rampage inside a Pittsburgh psychiatric clinic was previously committed to a mental health facility for treatment following an altercation with police in Oregon in 2009, a prosecutor said.

Details of John Shick's previous involvement with mental health professionals come as investigators piece together a motive for last week's shooting in the lobby of the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic at the University of Pittsburgh, which left one person dead and six others wounded.

Shick was taken for a mental health evaluation following his Dec. 29, 2009, arrest at Portland International Airport, which included a scuffle with police that ended with an officer being kicked in the head, according to court documents.

A judge ordered Shick, at the time living under a different name, to undergo up to 180 days of mental health treatment, Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Robert Leineweber told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for Tuesday's editions. It was not immediately clear how long he was in treatment. Shick had legally changed his name but later changed it back.

Shick was killed in an exchange of gunfire with University of Pittsburgh police after he entered the clinic and opened fire, according to authorities.

A 25-year-old clinic worker, Michael Schaab, was killed. His funeral took place Tuesday morning.

All the wounded are expected to recover.

Hospital officials have refused to say whether Shick was a patient at Western Psychiatric Institute. Allegheny County Medical Examiner Dr. Karl Williams told The Associated Press there are indications he was a patient there but the matter remains under investigation.

Shick had been enrolled as a graduate biology student at nearby Duquesne University but was banned from campus and withdrew after female students brought harassment complaints against him.

Leineweber told the Post-Gazette that Shick was never prosecuted after he didn't hear back from police after the judge ordered Shick's commitment. Shick's 2009 arrest was reported Friday by The Oregonian.

Neighbors who lived in Shick's Pittsburgh apartment building said he behaved erratically, sometimes seemed to walk around while strongly medicated, and posted angry notes on his apartment door in the days before the shooting. .