Soldotna police Sgt. Robb Quelland works at the scene outside Central Peninsula Hospital where an armed gunman was shot by police officers Wednesday morning next to the fence separating the hospital from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Story last updated at 12/3/2008 - 2:01 pm
SOLDOTNA - A former Central Peninsula Hospital employee shot two hospital directors, killing one and critically injuring another, before police shot and killed him during a standoff in the hospital parking lot on Wednesday.
Joseph Marchetti, 48, armed with a mini-14 .223 caliber rifle and a 9mm handgun, entered CPH via the south entrance and opened fire on two former supervisors, Director of Information Services Mike Webb, 55, and Director of Imaging Margaret Stroup, 57, just before 10 a.m., according to CPH spokeswoman Bonnie Nichols. Both were taken to the Emergency Department for treatment following the shooting.
Webb died in surgery at 11:56 a.m.
Stroup was taken to surgery for treatment of multiple gunshot wounds. Around 3:45 p.m., Stroup came out of surgery in critical but stable condition, said CPH spokeswoman Camille Sorensen. After being placed in CPH's intensive care unit, Stroup was medevaced to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage.
"We're still hopeful that she'll pull through," Nichols said. "We ask people to keep (Stroup and Webb) in their prayers."
No other employees or patients who were in the hospital during the incident were injured.
Marchetti also fired off several gunshots throughout the hospital's main corridor before exiting.
"Everyone is in a state of shock," Nichols said.
During the multiple hallway gunshots, Nichols said those inside the hospital ran and sought cover, locking the doors behind them of the rooms they entered.
Nichols said the hospital has contingency plans for emergencies such as this.
"We have plans for everything from earthquakes to a chemical exposure," she said.
Certain areas of the hospital remain in lockdown until police finish their investigation, as they are being treated as a crime scene. Anyone entering the hospital must do so through the Emergency Department until further notice.
Chief of Police for the Soldotna Police Department, John Lucking Jr., said SPD received the call just after 10 a.m. and that he and three officers responded. They called Alaska State Troopers for backup due to the scope of the crime scene. AST responded with at least six troopers, he said.
Once Marchetti exited the hospital, via the north exit near Marydale Avenue, Soldotna
police and troopers surrounded the gunman in the parking lot. The standoff ended when three troopers fired shots at Marchetti, Lucking said.
Marchetti was taken to the Emergency Department and pronounced dead at 10:41 a.m., according to Nichols.
Georganne Roberts, medical assistant for Dr. Robert Thompson, watched the standoff between the police and Marchetti through her office window across from CPH on Marydale Avenue.
During the standoff, Roberts said Marchetti was pacing back and forth with the rifle at his side. After police were able to convince him to drop the rifle, Marchetti pulled out the 9mm pistol. He once again began pacing and jumping up and down, she said. After Marchetti pointed the gun at police, they opened fire, Roberts said.
Roberts said she heard a "huge blast" during the standoff. The noise came from a bullet that went through the wall of Dr. Thompson's office. According to Roberts, a patient was reading files just two feet away from where the bullet entered the building.
No one in Dr. Thompson's office was injured.
The Soldotna area schools were placed in lockdown during the incident.
"We went into high alert around 10 to 10:05 a.m. and lockdown around 10:20 a.m.," said Steve Atwater, assistant superintendent for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District.
"We came off of lockdown at 10:45 a.m. when we got notification from troopers and the Soldotna Police Department that the suspect was in custody," he said.
"As far as we can tell the response has been very good, everyone has been trained to do this."
Atwater said the district will release children to parents in a high alert situation but during a lockdown no one is permitted to enter or leave the premises.
The district posted an incident update online after the shooting occurred.
Following the incident, chaplains and psychologists met with hospital employees for debriefing and comfort.
"We're trying to help our staff work through this," Nichols said.
"We're grieving as an organization," said CPH chief executive officer Ryan Smith. "Our sincere condolences go out to Mike Webb's family and our thoughts and prayers to Margaret Stroup."
Marchetti was a picture archiving and communication systems administrator while working at CPH. His position was shared between the Information Services and Imaging departments. Both Stroup and Webb were Marchetti's former supervisors.
Marchetti's employment was terminated Tuesday after working for CPH for one year, Nichols said. He moved from Omaha, Neb., where he worked as an information technology systems clinical administrator for Nebraska Medical Center.