Ex-employee in custody after Dayton VA Medical Center shooting

Shooting victim struggled with shooter over weapon

DAYTON, Ohio -- Police say a man is in custody after a shooting that injured one person at the Dayton VA Medical Center Monday.

Authorities said the suspect, 59-year-old Neil Moore, was a custodian at the medical center but has since retired. He was taken into custody at Good Samaritan Hospital a few miles away after his sister dropped him off there, police said.

Officials said Moore arrived at Good Samaritan after the shooting seeking psychiatric help.

Dayton spokesman Bryan Taulbee said the shooting victim, 61-year-old Paul Burnside, suffered a gunshot wound to his ankle after he struggled with Moore over a revolver. Burnside is a current custodian at the medical center.

Moore is from suburban Dayton and there were no other shooters involved, Taulbee said.

Police responded to the shooting at the VA clinic at 4100 W 3rd St. just after 12:15 p.m.

When officers arrived, they put the center on lockdown and searched each room. They said shots were reported near the building's loading dock.

It was later determined the shooting took place in the building's basement break room. Police said they have at least three witnesses.

Officers said they do not know how Moore left the center after the shooting. A weapon was found in his vehicle.

"Somehow he was able to get from here to there," Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl said.

Authorities believe Moore and Burnside know each other, but said they do not know the details of their relationship. Investigators have not determined a motive at this time.

Vincent Dec, a volunteer at the medical center, said he knows Moore and was surprised when he heard about the shooting.

“I just can't believe it's the same guy because (Moore) was so kind and a super nice person," Dec said. "When I found out that he done this – I just cannot believe it. He was always very respectful with everybody. A kind of quiet, real easy going person."

Moore's sister-in-law, Stephanie Brooks, told reporters outside the family's home in the Dayton suburb of Trotwoood that they were devastated.

"We're all confused and we're trying to find out what has happened,"

Myshalee Williams, a neighbor, said Moore was always kind and soft-spoken.

She said he was always friendly.

"He really is a good family man," Williams said. "He loves his children and his grandchildren."

Lori Walker, an employee in the mental health area, told WCPO news partner WHIO the center was put on "code silver" to lock all offices. Walker said she and others were told to evacuate by police a few minutes later.

The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office blocked all roads leading to the campus. Dozens of police cruisers were on the scene and searched between and underneath vehicles in the parking lot.

The VA center is closed to the public for the remainder of the day, and all appointments are canceled until further notice, said Glenn Costie, director of the center.

The VA will continue to care for veterans at the center, but anyone who needs emergency care and is not currently at the center should go elsewhere, Costie told WHIO.

The hospital provides veterans with medical, mental health and nursing home care. It has beds for about 450 people.

Four years ago, an Iraq War Army veteran wearing military fatigues fatally shot himself at a monument to soldiers outside the same hospital. The man, Jesse C. Huff, had been a patient there. He had been wounded by an explosive device in Iraq.

WCPO's Jay Warren and the Associated Press contributed to this report.


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