No one hurt in shooting at Central Florida VA hospital

- A staff member at a Veterans Affairs hospital in The Villages retirement community in central Florida prevented a shooter from harming anyone when he opened fired.

The man, later identified by FBI agents as Stephen Cometa, 60, entered The Villages Outpatient Clinic with a concealed weapon around 9 a.m. on Tuesday, knocked on an examining room door and pointed the gun at someone in the examining room after being let in.  Shots were fired but Cometa was disarmed by staff members and patients, and held until additional law enforcement officers arrived and took him into custody.

During an initial appearance in federal court Tuesday afternoon, Cometa was charged with forcible assault of a federal employee and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.  
 
"Thanks to the quick-thinking and brave actions of the VA clinic staff and patients to protect themselves and others, a potential tragedy was avoided and lives were saved," said Charles P. Spencer, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Jacksonville Division, which is leading the investigation in this case. 

The chief medical officer for the clinic, Dr. Todd Donahoe, says there were between 350 and 400 people inside the building.

 

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