By Alan J. Keays
RUTLAND – A 60-year-old Rutland man is denying charges he threatened in a phone call to “shoot up” Rutland Regional Medical Center late last week.
Paul Rice Sr. entered the innocent pleas Monday, Aug. 14, in Rutland Superior Court to misdemeanor offenses of causing false alarm and disturbing the peace by phone. He was released on conditions, including that he not go the Rutland hospital unless he has a “legitimate medical reason.”
Rutland Regional Medical Center was put on lockdown Friday at 11:30 a.m., Aug. 11, after a man called and threatened to “shoot up” the facility, according to police. The lockdown lasted about 40 minutes.
No one was injured. Police added that Rice, who was arrested at his home in Rutland from where they said he placed the call, does not possess any firearms.
Rice was charged with three offenses: causing a false public alarm, disorderly conduct through the phone and impeding police.
“A gentlemen called into the hospital, into the ED, making a demand and saying that he was going to go up there and shoot up the Emergency Department,” Rutland City Police Commander Matthew Prouty said Friday afternoon. “We knew who the individual was and we sent a car to his house.”
Prouty said a person known to Rice was a patient at the hospital at the time he called in the threat. Prouty declined to name that patient.
“The threat was toward the hospital,” the police commander said. “There was somebody there he wanted to see … I’m not exactly sure what his expectation was.”
The lockdown at the hospital went smoothly as police investigated the threat, Prouty said, adding, “I want to give kudos to the hospital for having a very good procedure in place.”
Peg Bolgioni, RRMC communications specialist, later said that based on a rough estimate there were about 1,000 people in the hospital at the time of the lockdown.
“We were pleased everything was handled quickly, expeditiously, and there was no harm done,” she added.