Man kills his estranged wife, then himself after shooting his way into the laboratory
Yesterday, in Tualatin, a quiet suburb city near Portland, Oregon, a gunman entered a laboratory facility owned by Legacy MetroLab and shot his estranged wife. He then killed himself. Two other individuals in the laboratory were injured, including a man admitted to a local hospital with multiple gunshot wounds.
Dark Daily believes this is the second reported incident of a shooting attack within a clinical laboratory facility in the nation’s history. It is a reminder that clinical laboratory managers and pathologists should have contingency plans for dealing with a wide range of unexpected situations and emergencies.
Shortly before noon on Tuesday, November 10, Robert Beiser, 39, entered the Legacy MetroLab facility in Tualatin. He immediately fired an undisclosed number of shots. When police arrived on the scene, just two minutes after the first 911 emergency call, they found Theresa Beiser, 36, an employee of Legacy MetroLab, dead of gunshot wounds. Robert Beiser was dead of self-inflicted gunshot wounds.
One employee of the laboratory who was injured by broken glass was sent to Legacy Immanuel Hospital. Several witness told reporters that this woman, wearing a white lab coat that said “Legacy,” had walked to a nearby restaurant to take shelter immediately after the shooting. There, the Legacy MetroLab employee told witnesses that the shooter had fired shots through a glass window at the office where she worked. When police arrived on the scene, they found a 63-year old man in the lab suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. He was transferred by air ambulance to OHSU Hospital in Portland.
Legacy MetroLab is a toxicology lab that does drugs of abuse testing as division of Legacy Laboratory Services. Legacy Laboratory Services has an active lab outreach program in Portland and neighboring regions. It is owned by Legacy Health. The Tualatin facility attacked by the gunman was a small testing laboratory and patient service center which served a hospital and local businesses in the area. It was located in a small office park near some retail centers.
Press reports say that Theresa Beiser had filed for a divorce from Robert Beiser about a week ago. The couple had been married for 15 years. Friends of the couple told newspaper reporters that they knew about the divorce filing, but that neither husband nor wife had given any indication of problems that would have predicted the violence that occurred yesterday.
Dark Daily is aware of one other example of a shooting attack within a clinical laboratory or pathology group practice during the past two decades. On Jude 28, 2000, a pathologist was shot and killed in his laboratory office by a pathology resident, who then turned the gun on himself and died at his own hand. The incident took place at the University of Washington. Rogert Haggitt, M.D., Professor of Pathology and Director of Hospital Pathology was killed by Jian Chen, M.D., a pathology resident.
In this case, Chen’s contract for the next year had not been renewed. Chen had spoken to colleagues at least 60 days earlier about purchasing a gun. Apparently Chad had been offered counseling and help, but had turned down those offers. On the day of the shooting, Chen arrived for a scheduled appointment with Dr. Haggitt, his supervisor. Behind locked doors, voices were heard and then gunshots. Five shots were fired and Haggitt was found dead with four gunshots.
Because an attack like this, by a gunman intent on killing someone specific and then himself, are such a rarity for any business, it is difficult for clinical lab managers and pathologists to develop specific contingency plans that anticipate such an event. On the other hand, the shooting attack at the Legacy MetroLab facility is a reminder that the unexpected can always happen. Thus, establishing a clear emergency response chain of command and protocols for all types of unexpected events can prove invaluable when the need arises.