The Bronx hospital killer was able to purchase a firearm because the New York legal system granted him a plea bargain on a 2004 felony charge.
Two weeks ago, Dr. Henry Bello passed a criminal background check and bought an AR-15 type rifle in Upstate New York. The rifle was modified to comply with the state’s strict firearms law.
Bello traveled to Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center last Friday and used that gun to shoot his colleagues, killing one woman, Dr. Tracy Sin-Yee Tam, and injuring six others. Bello then killed himself.
The New York Post reported that Bello was arrested in 2004 for grabbing a 24-year old woman by the crotch and attempting to carry her away.
“You’re coming with me,” he reportedly told the victim.
Initially charged with felony sex abuse, a conviction that would have appeared on a background report, Bello plea bargained his case down to a misdemeanor, according to the Post.
Then-Manhattan Judge Melissa Jackson also granted a special waiver to Bello two years after the assault so he could apply for specific licenses and jobs within the health care field. Just 12 days after receiving the waiver from the judge, he was hired as a pharmacy tech in the city’s hospital system.
Jackson is now an acting state Supreme Court justice.
By 2008, Bello was granted a special permit from the state of New York to practice medicine and was hired to be a physician at Bronx-Lebanon.