A double-amputee Army veteran shot and wounded a doctor just before a mental health evaluation at a veterans’ hospital in Riviera Beach near West Palm Beach.
Larry Ray Bon, 59, of Michigan, arrived at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Riviera Beach on Wednesday morning and was combative for hours, according to the FBI. Authorities said Bon was taken to the emergency room that evening for the mental health evaluation, when he pulled out a gun and shot the doctor in the neck.
“During the shooting, in between shots, the doctor saw an opportunity to jump on the suspect and disarm him,” Justin Fleck, the assistant special agent in charge for the FBI’s Miami office.
“He’s a pretty heroic individual and probably saved a lot of lives,” Fleck said.
It was not clear how Bon was able to bring the gun into the hospital.
Another hospital employee was grazed by a bullet. VA spokeswoman Mary Kay Rutan says the doctor was treated at a West Palm Beach hospital and released. The doctor’s name was not released.
The medical center opened for scheduled appointments Thursday.
Bon, who has had both his legs amputated and uses an electric wheelchair, served in the Army in the 1970s, but investigators were not aware of him having any combat-related conditions, Fleck said.
Nancy Bon told the Post that her son was mentally ill and arrived in West Palm Beach after he skipped a 2016 sentencing hearing in Muskegon, Michigan, for illegally possessing a stun gun.
“I don’t even know where he would have gotten a gun. He’s a felon,” she said.
Nancy Bon said her son’s mental health suffered after he contracted spinal meningitis at age 8. She said he was honorably discharged from the Army after contracting pneumonia during basic training. One leg was amputated after an infection, and the other was amputated 15 years ago after a car accident, she said.
Bon refused to cooperate after he was taken into federal custody on an assault charge, authorities said. A hearing on his detention and mental competency was scheduled March 7.
According to online court records, Bon’s only history in Palm Beach County’s legal system was a case in small claims court in 2017 that was dismissed. His name did not appear in county jail records.
Vet Shoots, Wounds Doctor Before Mental Health Check