By Josh Mitchell
Corinth Today News Editor
Iuka Police Chief Randy Stringer said a man who fatally shot himself in the Iuka hospital emergency room area Saturday did not threaten to kill anyone.
Iuka native Gary Lomenick, 64, told hospital staff that he went to the hospital to commit suicide so he could be put in a room so his organs could be donated after he took his life, Stringer said.
“He was under the impression that if he did it right there then they could get him on life support really quick and harvest his organs and he could donate them to somebody else,” Stringer said. “I assume he actually believed that because that’s what he was telling the folks.”
Lomenick apparently told a paramedic that he would shoot him in the kneecap if he tried to intervene, the chief said.
According to witness statements, Lomenick kept saying, “’I didn’t come here to hurt anybody but myself,’” Stringer said.
It appeared hospital staff tried to “deescalate the situation and get closer all at the same time,” Stringer added.
“There’s nothing anyone could have said or done to talk him out of it,” Stringer said.
The incident occurred at North Mississippi Medical Center in Iuka at about 2 p.m. Saturday. North Mississippi Medical Center released a statement Monday that said, “An unfortunate incident took place at North Mississippi Medical Center-Iuka on Oct. 7. We are thankful that no harm came to our staff, patients or visitors. The deceased was not one of our patients or employees. We extend our condolences to the family.”
Police made it to the hospital and tried to get close to Lomenick without him seeing them.
“We didn’t want to do anything that would set him off and make the situation worse,” Stringer said.
The gun did not fire the first two times Lomenick pulled the trigger to kill himself but did the third time, Stringer said.
The chief agreed that it was unusual that Lomenick was so depressed to the point of killing himself but still wanted to help others after he was gone.
“Most people who are going to do it don’t care about anything except checking out . . .,” Stringer said. “In his own mind that was his last act of kindness to give his organs to someone who could use them.”
Lomenick’s brother, Harold Lomenick, also said Gary was depressed and had been going through some personal relationship problems.
There is no indication that anyone was physically hurt during the incident, the chief noted. However, he said, “I’m sure those people over there were scared to death.”
Stringer said he would not call the incident an “active shooter scenario.” It appeared Lomenick was “basically depressed and he went there to end his life,” the chief noted.
Lomenick left suicide notes to family and left his keys locked in his truck in the hospital parking lot, Stringer said.
“He wasn’t coming back,” Stringer said. “That one simple act of locking his keys in his truck tells me he wasn’t coming back. He had no plans of coming back. He went in there to take his life. Different people act differently to depression or stress.”
Lomenick entered the hospital from the front of the building, but it was unclear how he gained access to the emergency room.