A man who was checking himself into a mental health care clinic on the medical campus where Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital is located in Willowbrook shot an employee and was taken into custody, authorities said Monday.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Century Station deputies first were called to the scene about 12:11 p.m.
A spokesman for Los Angeles County later said the shooting occurred at Exodus Mental Health Urgent Care Clinic, a private business that is located on the medical campus shared by the hospital.
A sign in front of the office where the investigation was taking place read “MLK Mental Health Urgent Care and Integrated Clinic” and “Exodus.”
The gunman was brought into the urgent care center by his family, who wanted to check him in for a mental health evaluation, Sheriff’s Department Lt. Joseph Williams said, cautioning that he had conflicting information coming from the scene. The shooting occurred when the man was being interviewed by a nurse, Williams said.
The president of Exodus Foundation, Luana Murphy, told media that the young male patient entered the clinic on his own and was interviewed by a nurse practitioner who pushed a “panic button” when the man became agitated and increasingly paranoid.
Unarmed security guards tried to get the man to “exit” the area where he was being interviewed when a “scuffle took place,” Murphy said.
“Somehow this patient had gotten into this facility with a firearm,” Murphy said. “The firearm discharged in the course of the scuffle. My staff does not feel that the patient was aiming it, but it went off.”
Another employee, a man, was struck in the thigh by a “stray bullet,” Murphy said. He was hospitalized in stable condition, Murphy said.
She stressed that she hoped the “very sick young man” with the gun received mental health support instead of criminal charges.
Murphy said she had not had metal detectors installed at the center because she wanted to provide a welcoming environment for patients. After the shooting, Exodus will reluctantly install metal detectors, she said.
Authorities initially said that the injured person was a female nurse employed at the hospital, and that the shooting took place at the hospital.
Sheriff’s Department patrol cars were stationed outside the hospital’s mental health building, and officers were in front of the main hospital entrance, aerial video showed.
KTLA’s Jennifer Thang and Carly Bagingito contributed to this article.