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"He Was a Creep": Hospital Shooting Suspect Called Abusive, Crazy

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The ex-wife of suspected hospital shooter Richard Plotts describes him as violent and abusive. NBC10's Keith Jones spoke with her and neighbors who say Plotts was not well-liked. (Published Thursday, Jul 24, 2014)

    He's been called abusive by his ex-wife and crazy by his neighbors, and he's even served time for a Delaware bank robbery. But the latest crime Richard Plotts, 49, of Upper Darby, is accused of committing left his case worker dead, a doctor wounded and himself fighting for his life.

    Police say Plotts opened fire Thursday in the psychiatric unit at the Sister Marie Lenahan Wellness Center in Darby, killing his 53-year-old case worker and wounding a doctor who fired back, critically injuring Plotts. He is in critical condition at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

    "It doesn't surprise me at all," said former Crum Lynne neighbor Diane Clements. "He was a creep."

    That's one of the nicer things said about Plotts.

    His ex-wife, who asked to remain anonymous, told NBC10 her ex-husband was abusive, made threats on her life and acted violently toward her family.

    "He was violent, physically and mentally," Plotts' ex said. "He has threatened to kill me. He's been violent to my family — parents, siblings — and he's just never been a very good person."

    The couple's divorce was finalized in 1999, while Plotts served six years in prison for a Delaware bank robbery four years earlier.

    While serving the remainder of his sentence for the robbery — three years supervised release — he was arrested for possession of a firearm. His release was revoked and he was sent back to prison.

    He was also arrested in the early '90s for trying to make a purchase at a John Wanamaker store with a stolen credit card, according to court records.

    "He's a con artist," said his ex-wife. "He has psychiatric issues."

    She did not elaborate on what those issues were, and details on his mental health were not immediately available.

    "He was a goofball. He was crazy, and he had a girlfriend, and we used to hear him beating that girl up," Clements, his former neighbor, said.

    Plotts was evicted from his home in the Kenneth House Apartments on West Chester Pike in Upper Darby about six months ago, according to a building maintenance man.

    Cathy Nickels, his neighbor there, recalled the contentious way Plotts left after his eviction.

    "As he was taken away in a van," she said, "he yelled, 'You haven't heard the end of me yet.'"