FOUNTAIN VALLEY (CBSLA) — A man armed with a flare gun and a replica handgun threatened to “shoot up” a Fountain Valley medical center Wednesday afternoon.
At approximately 11:40 a.m. the Fountain Valley Police Department received several calls regarding a possible active shooter incident in the parking lot of the Orange Coast Memorial Hospital located at 18111 Brookhurst.
The suspect, later identified as 51-year-old Thomas Christopher Ray of Chino, attempted to enter the emergency department at MemorialCoast Orange Coast Medical Center with the flare gun and a replica handgun.
“The suspect was seen walking over to the ER saying something along the lines of he is going to go in and shoot up the hospital,” said Lt. Jarrod Frahm.
The suspect had shot at least one flare gun round into the air while making verbal threats to shoot up the hospital, according to the Fountain Valley Police Department.
“At that point, the security who sees this goes inside and notifies the people inside what’s going on,” said Frahm.
A security guard who retreated inside the hospital and alerted authorities. A doctor and a nurse confronted the suspect and subdued him while some staff and patients hid in closets.
“They just came in really quick and locked all the doors,” said John Mendez who was receiving chemotherapy when the incident happened.
“It’s crazy,” said office assistant J Alvarez. “Our staff here, especially emergency, is going through so much already and it’s a lot of stress.”
Ray was at the hospital because his girlfriend was a patient being treated inside.
He was taken into custody by Fountain Valley police and the weapons were seized.
The hospital issued the following statement:
“The safety of our patients, families and staff is of the utmost importance. We notified the police of suspicious activity outside of the hospital today. Police responded and resolved the matter. The incident remained outside the hospital and our patients and staff are safe.”
There was no ongoing threat to the community.
Ray was charged with criminal threats and illegal discharge of a firearm.