Relatives search for answers after Plano woman’s suicide — (The Dallas Morning News)

SSRI Ed note: Woman goes to her doctor's office, holds her hostage, then shoots and kills herself. Her aunt believes that her prescription caused the atypical behaviour.

Original article no longer available

The Dallas Morning News

07:46 PM CDT on Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Plano: Aunt points to medication for incident at doctor’s office

PLANO – Maybe it was the medication. That’s only a guess, though, because Malka Rome doesn’t know why her niece walked into a Plano doctor’s office with a silver handgun Tuesday evening, held a doctor and nurse hostage for nearly an hour and then killed herself.

The only possible explanation she has is the prescription drugs that Alison Gans had been taking, Ms. Rome said Wednesday in a phone conversation from her Jerusalem home.

Ms. Rome said she did not know the name or purpose of the prescription.

“I just know she had been on medication and it didn’t agree with her,” she said.

Even that explanation does not explain why the 45-year-old Ms. Gans’ demeanor made such a dramatic turn, Ms. Rome said of her niece.

“She’s such a quiet girl,” Ms. Rome said. “I just couldn’t believe the things they said she did. She is the last person you would expect to see with a gun. It doesn’t fit.”

Ms. Gans’ brother, Malcolm Gans, called Ms. Rome last night to tell her the news. He told her that police showed up at his Dallas apartment and told him about the shooting. Mr. Gans could not be reached Wednesday for comment.

Plano police are still investigating and refuse to release many details about the case. Police spokesman Rick McDonald would not say what Ms. Gans said when she went into the office of her physician, Dr. Carolyn Harris, Tuesday evening, only that witnesses described her as angry.

After holding Dr. Harris and a nurse hostage for 45 minutes, Ms. Gans released them and shot herself in the chest, Officer McDonald said. Ms. Gans died in the doctor’s office.

Dr. Harris, a primary care doctor, was back at work Wednesday and seeing patients but was not available for comment, said Emily Alcantar, spokeswoman for the Medical Clinic of North Texas, where Dr. Harris has an office.

“It’s just shocking for something like this to happen to one of our physicians and one of our patients,” Ms. Alcantar said. “We all grieve differently. Dr. Harris thought being accessible to her patients [today] was the best way to proceed.”

Nearly 7,000 miles away in Jerusalem, Ms. Rome recalled the last time she saw her niece. It was a couple of years ago, when Ms. Gans visited Israel before heading to her birthplace, Cape Town, South Africa. Ms. Gans had been living in the United States for years, working at one point as a switchboard operator for a big company in Dallas, Ms. Rome said

The aunt and niece talked regularly, Ms. Rome said, and even had a phone conversation scheduled for next week.

“I’m looking at a note right now that says, ‘I’ll be calling you on Nov. 4.’ “