VA clinic, active shooter secured

veterans affairs, va shooting, summerfield florida, ocala post,

[Last updated on December 13, 2016, at 5:30 p.m.]

Stephen Cometa
Stephen Cometa

Summerfield — The Villages VA Outpatient Clinic has been cleared and the active shooter has been secured.

The shooter has been identified as Stephen Cometa, 60. He is currently being held at the Marion County Jail as a courtesy hold for the U.S. Marshals Service.

According to the FBI, at approximately 9:00 a.m., a veteran, who is assumed to have been patient at the clinic, entered the building, located at 8900 Southeast 165th Mulberry Lane, with a gun. Cometa did not display the handgun until after he had entered the building and was already in an exam room.

Due to HIPAA laws, clinic personnel would not confirm that Cometa was in fact a patient.

The incident was described as an active shooter situation, in which an employee who struggled with Cometa, suffered a minor injury to his hand. The injury was not related to a gunshot. The employee was in the exam room with Cometa and kept him from shooting the doctor, and potentially others.

Officials told Ocala Post that authorities are currently interviewing Cometa to better understand his intentions and possible motives.

An unnamed source, who said employees were advised not to speak with the press, said the building “was packed” during the incident, but everyone got out safe. The person also said that at least two shots were fired.

Even though no one knows the circumstances surrounding the shooting, citizens immediately turned to Facebook and began expressing sympathy for the man; blaming the government, including law enforcement, for how poorly veterans are treated in the U.S.

The clinic will remain closed for the day.

No further information is available at this time. Stay tuned for future updates.

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    Sympathy? Times get rough, but that doesn’t mean you take it out on innocent people. Vet or not, the government paid you for your services. Nobody forces you to sign up at the end of the day.

    • Karen M

      No, but they DID say they would give Life-time medical care! I assume this veteran wasn’t happy with the care he was getting! (or NOT getting!)

      • Ocala native

        Lifetime medical is for retirees and disabled vets. I agree with Optimus you can’t go shooting people up.

        • Karen M

          well, I think you are wrong, any vet can go to a VA facility for care, by simply signing up! and if NOT disabled or retired, pays a ‘co-pay’ for his care. which is much cheaper than outside insurance coverage, as well as meds! Ask my ‘ex’ who was self employed and paying ‘outrageous’ $$$ for Insurance and meds, He went to G-ville Med Ctr. ,signed up and has been treated by the VA ever since (he pays a co-pay) I assume the Villages vet was a patient there or he wouldn’t have been in an exam room !?

          • Ocala native

            You made it sound like vets receive free medical care which they don’t, your husband is paying for care.

  • Tax Watcher

    I am glad no one was shot. Mental health issues are poorly funded in all areas of medical field. Prevention is much cheaper than where things get out of hand.

  • Andrea Wolfkill

    I was the civilian who with the doctor
    tried to wrestle the assault weapon away from Cometa. There is no doubt in my mind that he came to kill the psychiatrist! This man was enraged with his face bright red and spittle coming out of his mouth. It it wasn’t for Devine intervention and the heroics of the doctor, Cometa would have shot him, me and my veteran. I was able to grab the barrel of the gun and hold it until the Federal police arrived. This man should be in jail for a long time. Many of us are in pain both physical and mental, but we don’t go into a facility with enough ammo to start a small war!
    Andrea Wolfkill, VA Fiduciary and Registered Professional Guardian

  • Dave Companion

    Vet or not. There is no excuse for bad behavior.