Rady Children’s Hospital is on “heightened security status” due to threats against hospital employees, a hospital spokesperson confirmed Thursday.
San Diego police were notified about those threats and are investigating the incidents. Rady Children’s has also taken unspecified steps to protect patients, visitors and staff.
The hospital’s spokesman would not reveal what prompted the security alert.
But a court document confirms that San Diego police, with approval from a judge, recently seized eight firearms and ammunition from hospital employee Robert Wilson.
Those weapons, which include a .38 revolver, two .45 caliber handguns and a .223 caliber rifle, were seized May 2 from Wilson’s East County home.
The weapons and ammunition were seized by authority of a Gun Violence Emergency Protective Order, which allows law enforcement to temporarily take control of weapons owned by someone who a judge determines poses a threat to themselves or others.
The emergency protective order filed against Wilson notes that he told three co-workers that “he wished his supervisor would just die, and he wished it was the military, so his supervisors could die by friendly fire.” According to the order, Wilson also said “he wanted to invite (his supervisors) on a hunting trip, so it would look like an accident.”
Wilson confirmed that he has filed several complaints with the hospital’s human relations department about working conditions at the hospital. Wilson told NBC 7 he works in the hospital’s IT department, and that he’s also been outspoken about possible computer security problems at Rady Children’s.
But Wilson insisted that he never threatened any of his supervisors. He said he’s an emotionally stable, law-abiding employee who has been wrongly accused and denied his right to possess firearms.
“My life has been destroyed and turned upside down based on hearsay and the fact that I own guns,” Wilson said.
Wilson can ask a judge to order law enforcement to return his weapons and ammunition at a hearing scheduled for May 22.
State law allows police to keep Wilson's weapons for up to a year, unless he can persuade a judge he's not a threat to himself or others.
City Attorney Mara Elliott, a strong supporter of the gun violence protective orders, said the law allows a judge, upon hearing the evidence, to keep a defendant away from his or her weapons for up to 12 months, or until they can demonstrate that they no longer pose a threat.
Elliott declined to speak specifically about Wilson’s case, but explained that in general, the law gives defendants ample opportunity to persuade the court that they’re fit to regain possession of their weapons.
"If they're unable to do that in that 12 month period, we can get an extension for an additional 12 month period, and on and on until the problem is addressed," Elliott told NBC 7.
The city attorney also said police and prosecutors do not have the authority to confiscate weapons under the law, and that judges require compelling evidence before they approve an initial Gun Violence Emergency Protective Order.
"It's not the city attorney who makes the decision,” Elliott said. “It's not the police department that makes the decision. It is a court that makes the decision."