A man in Mishawaka, Indiana killed himself right after shooting a doctor for refusing to prescribe opioids to his wife, according to local authorities.
This is the latest casualty in the battle against opioid addiction that the state has been fighting for the past years. Ken Cotter, prosecutor for St. Joseph County, said that Michael Jarvis confronted Dr. Todd Graham for refusing to prescribe opioid medications for his wife who was in chronic pain, Chicago Tribune reports.
In a press conference, Cotter said that Jarvis and his wife went to Graham’s office for an appointment on Wednesday morning. Jarvis got angry after Graham told them that chronic pain does not necessarily require opioid painkillers. The couple left the office, but Jarvis returned around two hours later, this time armed with a gun.
Graham was on his way to the St. Joseph Rehabilitation Institute near his office. Jarvis followed the physicians to the parking lot, where they argued. Cotter said,
There were two witnesses who were outside and in close proximity. Jarvis went to those two witnesses and told them to leave. They saw a gun.
Jarvis then shot Graham then drove to a friend’s house. He “gave indication that he was no longer going to be around,” said Cotter. The friend was worried and called 911, but Jarvis had shot himself by the time the police arrived on the scene.
Cotter added that Jarvis’ wife had no idea that her husband had returned to the doctor’s office and had shot the doctor. It remains unclear whether or not the couple were addicted to opioids, or whether Jarvis wanted the prescription for himself.
“There’s some indication that Jarvis may have also had his own issues. We’re still investigating that,” Cotter explained. “We’re talking about a man who made a choice to kill another person. We’re not talking about the opioid problem…was that a contributing factor in his decision? We don’t know that yet.”
Jarvis was not a patient of Graham’s, and investigators are looking into medical records to determine what other drugs may have been prescribed to the couple.
Graham, 56, was a highly-rated doctor, and was also a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist at South Bend Orthopaedics. Patients who wrote reviews on the website described him as a trustworthy and caring doctor, with another referring to him as a “miracle worker.” He had three children.
A.J. Mencias, Graham’s friend and business partner, said, “He dedicated his life to taking care of people and that’s the sad, sad part of this whole thing.”