Other Murders/Murder-Suicides Committed by Individuals on Psychiatric Drugs
School-related acts of violence aren’t the only cases commonly found to be under the influence of psychiatric drugs. There are 12 other recent acts of senseless violence committed by individuals taking or withdrawing from psychiatric drugs resulting in 46 dead and 23 wounded:
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – March 8, 2012: 30-year-old John Shick, former patient of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and former student at nearby Duquesne University, shot and killed one and injured six inside UPMC’s Western Psychiatrist Institute. Nine antidepressants were identified among the drugs police found in Shick’s apartment.
- Seal Beach, California – October 12, 2011: Scott DeKraai, a harbor tugboat worker, entered the hair salon where his ex-wife worked, killing her and seven others and injuring one. At DeKraai’s initial hearing, his attorney indicated to the judge that DeKraai was prescribed the antidepressant Trazodone and the “mood stabilizer” Topamax.
- Lakeland, Florida – May 3, 2009: Toxicology test results showed that 34-year-old Troy Bellar was on Tegretol, a drug prescribed for “bi-polar disorder,” when he shot and killed his wife and two of his three children in their home before killing himself.
- Granberry Crossing, Alabama – April 26, 2009: 53-year-old Fred B. Davis shot and killed a police officer and wounded a sheriff’s deputy who had responded to a call that Davis had threatened a neighbor with a gun. Prescription drug bottles found at the scene showed that Davis was prescribed the antipsychotic drug Geodon.
- Middletown, Maryland – April 17, 2009: Christopher Wood shot and killed his wife, three small children and himself inside their home. Toxicology test results verified that Wood had been taking the antidepressants Cymbalta and Paxil and the anti-anxiety drugs BuSpar and Xanax.
- Concord, California – January 11, 2009: Jason Montes, 33, shot and killed his wife and then himself at home. Montes had earlier begun taking the antidepressant Prozac for depression related to his impending divorce and a recent bankruptcy.
- Little Rock, Arkansas – August 14, 2008: Less than 48 hours after Timothy Johnson shot and killed Arkansas Democratic Party Chairman Bill Gwatney, the Little Rock Police declared they were investigating shooter’s use of the antidepressant Effexor, which was found in Johnson’s house. A Little Rock city police report later stated that Johnson “was on an antidepressant and that the drug may have played a part in his ‘irrational and violent behavior.’”
- Omaha, Nebraska – December 5, 2007: 19-year-old Robert Hawkins killed eight people and wounded five before committing suicide in an Omaha mall. Autopsy results confirmed he was under the influence of the “anti-anxiety” drug Valium.
- North Meridian, Florida – July 8, 2003: Doug Williams killed five and wounded nine of his fellow Lockheed Martin employees before killing himself. Williams was reportedly taking two antidepressants, Zoloft and Celexa, for depression after a failed marriage.
- Wakefield, Massachusetts – December 26, 2000: 42-year-old computer technician Michael McDermott had been taking three antidepressants when he hunted down employees in the accounting and human resources offices where he worked, killing seven.
- Buffalo, New York – May 1, 1998: 37-year-old Juan Roman, an Erie County sheriff’s deputy, pursued his estranged wife into their children’s elementary school and shot her dead, and a school aide was hit in the elbow. Roman was taking antidepressants and seeing a psychiatrist.
- St. Petersburg, FL – May 25, 1992: 30-year-old David Doyle Rittenhouse shot and killed a man that went on a date with his wife. Rittenhouse said he was taking a drug somewhat similar to the controversial drug Prozac, and that the drug impeded his perception abilities and he thought the man had raped his wife, though he said “He knows it didn’t happen that way – but he said that is what was in his mind.”