Police, hospital officials confirm patient fatally shot himself inside Bel Air hospital

An inpatient at Bel Air's Upper Chesapeake hospital committed suicide, police confirmed

The death of a man from a self-inflicted gunshot wound while he was a patient at Harford County's largest hospital earlier this month did not pose a risk to others at the facility, nor does it indicate a need for a review of security procedures, a spokesperson said Tuesday.

The 69-year-old patient at the University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air fatally shot himself inside his room on Sept. 1, Bel Air Police confirmed.

The man was found to have shot himself at about 6:15 a.m., Bel Air Police Department Sgt. Jim Lockard said Tuesday.

Lockard declined to release the police report on the incident, citing federal health confidentiality regulations.

Hospital officials, meanwhile, believe the shooting was an isolated event and that no one else was ever believed to be at risk.

The hospital's clinical team called police to report a "suspicious wound," hospital spokesperson Martha Mallonee said via email.

"Despite lifesaving attempts, the patient was declared deceased at the scene," she said. "There were no team members, physicians or other patients or visitors involved in this incident, no witnesses to what happened and no other injuries reported. The case is with the Medical Examiner and it appears to be a suicide."

She said hospital officials were "saddened by the unexpected and tragic death" of the patient, but do not see any security risks from the incident.

"UM UCH takes the security of our patients, families, physicians and team members very seriously," Mallonee said. "Our policy for searching belongings is based on triggers that prompt suspicion such as agitated behavior, concerns from family members, aggressive threats or if, based on what the patient or visitor shares with us, we believe they may be in danger of hurting themselves or others."

"When appropriate, we involve the police department," she said. "We believe the unfortunate incident on [Sept. 1] was isolated and at no time did we believe anyone to be at risk nor did we have any reason to search this patients' belongings."

Upper Chesapeake Medical Center and Harford Memorial Hospital in Havre de Grace are both part of the Baltimore based University of Maryland Medical System.

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