Gun in emergency room causes stir in Greensburg
Saturday, October 07, 2006

By Jim McKinnon, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A Greensburg woman caused a stir yesterday morning, asking workers to disarm her after she walked into a hospital emergency room with a gun.
The 31-year-old woman was disarmed by a nurse, taken into custody by police, and admitted to Excela Health Westmoreland Hospital for psychiatric evaluation, Greensburg police Capt. George R. Seranko said.
The woman had been treated Thursday night at Excela Health Westmoreland Hospital for an undisclosed reason. She returned yesterday morning requesting to see the same nurse who had treated her the previous night, Capt. Seranko said.
She was delusional and began rambling about her fear of the government, the murder of Amish children in Lancaster County, and Armageddon, among other things, police said.
At one point the woman raised her hands, pointed at her purse, and said, "You better take this before I do something with it. It's in there."
The weapon contained an ammunition clip with no bullets. It was turned over to police, who will conduct ballistics tests.
Police also will seek to determine ownership of the gun, Capt. Seranko said.
Greensburg police responded to the call with every officer on duty, a supervisor and three patrolmen.
"Until you get there you don't know what you really have," Capt. Seranko said. "By the time we got there, the gun was all secured."
He said no one at the hospital was threatened by the woman.
Dorothy Hufford, spokeswoman for Excela Health, which operates three hospitals in Westmoreland County, said she believed the woman had a permit for the gun.
"There was never a time when anyone was in any danger. This was not that kind of situation," Ms. Hufford said. "She was not comfortable with it in her possession. This is a situation where a person did the right thing."
Though the emergency room was at what Ms. Hufford called a normal level of activity, the woman's antics went largely unnoticed.
Police had not located the woman's family yesterday, Capt. Seranko said.
Charges may be filed at a later date, he said.


(Jim McKinnon can be reached at or 412-263-1939. )