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Shick's mother added as defendant in Western Psych shooting rampage lawsuit

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Friday, June 14, 2013, 2:48 p.m.
 

A Bahamian police officer chartered a plane and two boats to serve legal notice to the mother of a schizophrenic gunman who killed one person and injured four others in a rampage at Western Psychiatric Institute & Clinic in Oakland, court records show.

Donald J. Adderely, 33, of the Royal Bahamas Police Force searched records of the Habormasters Office in New Providence at the Bahamas Customs Department in Nassau and at local docks around the Caribbean island nation, where the parents of John Shick had last written about visiting on their sailboat, the Moira.

“We couldn't make service unless we found the boat,” said Pittsburgh attorney Mark Homyak, who represents former Western Psych receptionist Kathryn Leight, 66, of Glenshaw.

The extensive search was necessary because Pennsylvania law requires notice to be served in person, by certified mail or with another adult who lives at the same address. With the Shicks living on a boat, the latter two options weren't possible, Homyak said.

Leight's lawsuit — one of two against John Shick's estate — claims Susan Shick was aware of her son's need to undergo psychiatric treatment but failed to prevent him from being a danger to others. The lawsuit also claims UPMC doctors missed several opportunities to commit John Shick to a mental facility before his March 2012 shooting rampage that killed therapist Mike Schaab, 25, of Regent Square, wounded Leight and three others before police killed Shick, 30, of Oakland.

Susan Shick could not be reached for comment.

In a June 2012 posting to her website, The Log of Moira, Susan Shick wrote that she could not compel their son to go to doctor's appointments or take his medications. She wrote that she and her husband, Larry, gave their son support to live independently but could not assuage his feelings of alienation.

Shick, diagnosed as schizophrenic during involuntary commitments in New York and Oregon, began seeing doctors at UPMC's Shadyside Family Health Center in 2011 when he moved to Pittsburgh to begin graduate school at Duquesne University. The school expelled him in October 2011 and banned him from campus because he harassed female students.

Adam Brandolph is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-391-0927 or abrandolph@tribweb.com.

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