Gunman Who Killed One, Injured Two Others Was Mentally Ill

A man who shot several people at a Tennessee hospital, killing one and wounding two others, was mentally ill and off his medication, say law enforcement authorities.

The gunman, Abdo Ibssa, entered a medical building near Parkwest Medical Center and asked to see the doctor who had performed his 2001 appendectomy, before heading to a patient discharge area and opening fire. After shooting three women, Ibssa turned the gun on himself.

Ibssa, 38, apparently thought that the doctor had implanted a tracking device inside his body during the procedure to remove his appendix. Investigators found a note during a search of Ibssa’s Knoxville apartment which indicated that he believed an electronic chip was monitoring his movements.

Investigators also found an anti-psychotic medication which was prescribed to him, but said that they believed Ibssa had not been taking that medication. Also recovered from his apartment were a cell phone, two laptop computers, a bag of marijuana, a .22 handgun with an altered serial number and a handbook entitled The CIA Manual of Tracking and Deception.

Ibssa, who was from Ethiopia, became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 2006. In February, he had been committed to a mental health treatment center by relatives who were concerned about his psychological well-being.

Cab driver Freddy Sakhleh said that he picked up Ibssa outside of an apartment complex and drove him to Parkview Medical Center, stopping at an ATM on the way. Once at the hospital, Ibssa gave Sakhleh $20 and asked him to wait. He returned to the cab twice—once after attempting but failing to find the appendectomy surgeon; and a second time, just a few minutes after entering the patient discharge area at Door #5.

Sakhleh had actually started to drive away when Ibssa asked him to stop, exited the vehicle, and pulled out the gun with which he fired five shots. Bystanders said that the shots occurred within seconds of each other, striking three female hospital employees. Ibssa then shot himself in the head.

A stolen .357 magnum handgun was discovered under Ibssa’s body, but it was unclear whether Ibssa was involved in its theft.

Two of the victims, Ariane Reagan Guerin, 26, and 32-year-old Nancy Chancellor, were said to be in stable condition at the University of Tennessee Medical Center. The third, Rachel Wattenbarger, 40 had worked at the hospital for five years, helping discharge elderly patients. She died on the scene, as did Ibssa.

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