VA Medical Center shooter Larry Ray Bon receives over 16 years in prison

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A double amputee who opened fire at VA Medical Center in Riviera Beach nearly three years ago, injuring two people, is likely to die in prison, a federal judge said on Friday as he sentenced Larry Ray Bon, 62, on Friday. at 16 and a half. .

U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra has said he takes no pleasure in anything except ensuring Bon will never live outside the prison walls again.

“But the people who were trying to help Mr. Bon were injured physically, mentally and emotionally and will remain scarred for the rest of their lives,” he said. “The events were horrible.

While he rejected a federal prosecutor’s request for a 25-year sentence, Marra also said the 12-and-a-half-year sentence requested by his defense attorney was too lenient.

“I don’t think there is any question (a heavier sentence) is justified in the facts of this case,” he said during the hearing held on Zoom.

People at the February 2019 shoot talk about stress, health issues

An emergency room nurse told Marra that her existing health problems worsened after going to help Bon on February 27, 2019 and instead found herself staring at a gun barrel.

“I shouted, ‘He has a gun. He has a gun, ”said Christian Drew, describing how he tried to warn others as he ran down the hallway of the hospital. “He’s still shooting me. He shot eight to nine times. I counted.”

Since that day, Drew has said he has trouble eating and sleeping. He has lost over 60 pounds and is on kidney dialysis. His existing kidney problems were exacerbated by the trauma, he said. “I believe he was trying to kill me and other staff,” Drew said. “I don’t want him to be able to do this to someone else.”

Others who have been caught in the crossfire, including hospital worker Alfred Gaines, said they were also suffering from lingering effects. “You took so much from me both physically and mentally,” said Gaines, who was shot in the buttocks, in a letter that was read to Marra.

Dr. Bruce Goldfeder speaks with the Palm Beach Post on Thursday, February 28, 2019. He disarmed a patient who shot a gun on Wednesday, February 27, 2019, at the West Palm Beach VA Medical Center in Riviera Beach.

Dr Bruce Goldfeder, who snatched the gun from Bon and was shot in the neck, had previously spoken to Marra about the anguish he had felt.

On Friday, however, he said he had forgiven Bon. “I only want the best for him and his life, which means he gets the best mental health care possible,” Goldfeder said. “I wish him no harm. I just want him to get the care he needs.

Lawyer Says Prison Hospital Stay Got Mental Health Care For Shooter He Needs

Deputy Public Defender Kristy Militello, who represented Bon, said that last year Bon finally got the treatment he needed to cope with the mental illness that plagued him for most of his life.

The treatment came after he pleaded guilty in July 2020 to three counts of assaulting a federal employee and one count of possessing a firearm in a federal facility with intent to commit a crime. He received an interim sentence of 25 years and was sent to a medical center at a federal prison in North Florida for mental health treatment.

According to the agreement reached between Militello and Assistant US Attorney Susan Osborne, Bon would be formally sentenced once his sanity was restored. In July, prison officials said Bon no longer required inpatient psychiatric treatment, paving the way for Friday’s hearing.

While Bon had been involuntarily engaged for mental health treatment on numerous occasions, his time in federal prison marked the first time he received extensive and long-term treatment, Militello said.

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Her mental illness and physical problems, including heart disease, were treated. He lost one leg in a motorcycle accident and the other due to an infection, his family told the Palm Beach Post. He left the army during basic training.

During his stay in the federal prison hospital, Bon reconnected with his distant family in Michigan, who agreed to support him after his release, Militello told Marra. Her sister has logged in for the Zoom hearing.

Having regained his health, there was every reason to believe that Bon would continue to take his medication after his release, Militello said.

Shooter expresses remorse as prosecutor fears old patterns will reappear

Osborne countered that Bon had a history of escalating violence. Before opening fire, he issued a bomb threat at Riviera Beach hospital because he was not satisfied with the care, she said.

“Once he comes out of an institution, he will come back to the same pattern,” she said. “He will not take his medication and will react with anger and loss of control. He tried to kill people who were trying to help him, she said. It was a “miracle” that Goldfeder survived and the others were not seriously injured, she said.

Mitello insisted that Bon was not trying to kill the VA staff. Instead, she said, Bon told several people that he wanted to die and hoped his actions would prompt officials to call the police, who would shoot him.

Due to the severity of her health issues and the known adverse effects of life in prison, she said Bon was unlikely to reach 75.5, the average life expectancy of white men in the United States. United. Under the sentence imposed by Marra, Bon would be released when he was about 78 and a half years old.

For his part, Bon, who gained weight and looked much more alert than in previous hearings, expressed remorse for his actions.

“I apologize to the doctor and VA staff for my actions,” he said. “I am really sorry.”

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