Memphis shooting suspect was recently in mental hospital and reportedly schizophrenic, says aunt

Larry Pickens, 29, was charged with shooting and killing a Memphis hand surgeon after spending a night at a mental health hospital a week before the attack according to his aunt, who says he is schizophrenic and should never have been released.

(Video Credit: WREG News Channel 3)

The unstable man allegedly opened fire on Dr. Benjamin Mauck on Tuesday and is now being charged with first-degree murder. His bail was set at $1.2 million. He told the judge in his first court appearance that he could not make bail, so he is still behind bars.

His motive for allegedly killing the doctor is unknown. The beloved surgeon leaves behind a wife and two children.

Police responded to two complaints against Pickens at the clinic where Mauck worked days before he was killed.

He is accused of attacking the surgeon while waiting in the exam room at the Campbell Clinic in Collierville, Tennessee, according to the New York Post. That happened after he allegedly scoped out the waiting room for hours beforehand. Mauck was his doctor. He had operated on Pickens’ little finger.

Following the shooting, witnesses said Pickens calmly walked out of the clinic and was arrested by police just minutes later, according to the New York Post.

(Video Credit: WREG News Channel 3)

An unidentified witness reportedly told local CBS affiliate WREG that the shooter had threatened Mauck for a week before the shooting.

Louise Pickens, the alleged shooter’s aunt, told the Daily Mail that a week before he killed the doctor, her nephew was admitted at the Crestwyn Behavioral Health facility in Memphis for one night. They released him the next day.

“They let him go and they shouldn’t have,” the aunt said.

Pickens has been diagnosed with “schizophrenic bipolar paranoid disorder,” according to his aunt who also said he’s been in and out of mental facilities for years. “He thinks that people are after him, people are doing stuff to him and everything.”

His aunt commented that his condition “really got worse” when he was in 11th grade. She says he has been treated repeatedly at Lakeside Behavioral Health in Memphis.

Pickens reportedly has a long history of run-ins with the law as well. He reportedly knifed his stepfather four times and left him with two punctured lungs, according to an incident report from the attack.

Oddly, the deranged man did not have a criminal record in Collierville where the murder took place but he had called the police several times on other people.

In April 2022, he called the police insisting that someone had broken into his home. Police arrived on scene and he told them that he was schizophrenic and off his medication, according to local Memphis outlet WATE.

After getting a haircut at a barbershop, he also reportedly scared the heck out of staff and customers after manacing them. One of the owners saw him fishing around in a pocket as if he was going for a weapon but never pulled one out. Instead, Pickens called the police and claimed that someone threatened him, which was reportedly untrue.

“Someone felt threatened, and whenever we feel threatened, then we have to take care of our business,” the owner said. “I thought he had some sort of mental disorder just off his actions and how he was carrying himself.

Pickens was not charged over the incident.

“For my nephew, it’s really sad,” his aunt remarked. ” And I don’t wish that upon no one.”

According to the New York Post, Pickens was jobless and living on the streets at least two months before the attack on Mauck.

“Earlier today, we experienced a single shooter event inside our Collierville clinic,” Campbell Clinic said in a statement released following the shooting. “We are shocked and heartbroken to confirm the incident resulted in the tragic loss of one of our highly respected and beloved physicians, Dr. Ben Mauck. We ask that you please lift his family in prayer.”

“We are sad to share with you the passing of one of our members, Benjamin Mauck, MD,” the Memphis Medical Society also said in a statement. “Ben was a devoted husband, father, brother, son, and physician colleague. He was a highly skilled hand, wrist, and elbow surgeon. His untimely death is a devastating loss for our healthcare community, and we honor and appreciate his service to the patients of Shelby County.”

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