Austin, Texas – A terrible scene unfolded Tuesday in the waiting room of an Veterans Affairs clinic when a veteran reportedly shot himself to death in front of hundreds of witnesses.
Despite the commotion, many in the building remained unaware of what had occurred for some time after the shooting, KWTX News 10 reported.
One group therapy class even continued on for almost an hour after the shot was fired.
“All of a sudden, over the intercom, they have this statement about everyone must clear the building including staff, so it was a little surprising,” veteran Ken Walker told News 10.
Once the hospital became vacant, it was locked down for an investigation.
Diane_Kirkendall shared a photo that was reportedly taken in the waiting room just after the suicide.
The clinic has not installed metal detectors, relying instead on randomized bag searches.
A 2018 Government Accountability Office report determined the VA had not been adhering to the same security standards required of federal buildings, potentially leaving staff and patients vulnerable to risk.
In 2015, Veterans Affairs psychologist Timothy Fjordbak, 63, was shot and killed by Jerry Serrato, 48, at a clinic in El Paso, Texas.
Serrato then took his own life.
Between October 2017 and November 2018, 19 veterans died by suicide on the grounds of VA medical facilities in what some believe to be acts of protesting inadequate treatment by the country they served.
In December, Marine Col. Jim Turner, 55, put his service uniform on, drove to the Bay Pines Department of Veterans Affairs, and shot himself outside the medical center, leaving a note next to his body.
“I bet if you look at the 22 suicides a day you will see VA screwed up in 90 percent,” it read.
Just two week ago, two veterans from Georgia killed themselves in two separate incidents outside VA hospitals.
“For military veterans, access to weapons and familiarity with weapons makes it too easy,” Jack Swope, a licensed professional counselor with Austin’s Samaritan Center, told NBC Austin.
“Availability of viable medical options remains a titanic hindrance vets face as well”, Swope added.
“There’s a scheduling problem. Part of it is a matter of accessibility, getting there, and frankly part of it is a matter of finances and costs.”
While Democrats continue to place Illegal Immigrants at the top of their pedestal in what many believe is an attempt to gain voters, citizens that defended this great country are dying at alarming rates..