COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) – Police say a man holding a four year grudge opens fire inside Doctors Hospital Thursday afternoon — killing three people.
Columbus Police Chief, Ricky Boren tells News Leader 9, the gunman, 63 year-old Charles Johnston, was shot by a plain clothes officer in the upper right shoulder.
The shooting began around 2:15 p.m. on the fifth floor of the hospital. Johnston asked for the nurse that cared for his mother. That’s when he got upset and opened fire. His shooting rampage ended in the parking deck located on the hospital’s campus just off Hamilton Road.
The victims of the fatal shooting are 44 year-old Peter Wright — a registered nurse, and 44 year-old Leslies Harris — an administrative assistant. The two were targeted inside the hospital. 76 year-old James David Baker, a passing motorist, was shot in the head on the parking deck and later died in surgery. Police say Johnston thought Baker was trying to stop him as he was escaping.
News Leader 9 talked to a woman, whose sister works as a nurse on the fifth floor of the hospital. Maggie Simpson recounts the scene inside: “The guy kept following her around, she asked is there anything I can help you with, and he said no, turned around and shot her friend. She took off running. All she could hear was shots. She came back to see if he was still shooting. They called security. Security was running to help. One of the guys rounded the corner; he turned around, shot him in the head.”
Johnston was a full-time employee for MCSD from September 1973 to December 1973 at Rothschild Junior High. He served as a teacher’s aide before resigning.
In March 1997, he enrolled in the substitute training class and is last listed as receiving pay from the MCSD in May 2007 as a substitute teacher.
Johnston’s mother, Lillie May Johnston died at Doctors Hospital in 2004. Sources say, at least one of the victims targeted in Thursday’s rampage may have cared for Johnston’s mother.
Johnston has been treated and released from the hospital. He faces three counts of murder, four counts of aggravated assault on a police officer, one count of aggravated assault on a civilian, and one count for the possession of firearm in the commission of a crime.