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Remembrance on Behavioral Health shooting anniversary

A low-key gathering at Behavioral Health Services marked the 10th anniversary of the day a mentally ill man shot a half-dozen people in Nevada County, killing three.

Pearlie Mae Feldman, 68, and intern Laura Wilcox, 19, were the first victims, fatally shot the morning of Jan. 10, 2001, by Scott Thorpe at the county Behavioral Health Department.

There, Thorpe also shot Judith Edzards; intern Daisy Switzer was injured when she escaped through a second-story window of the office, then on Willow Valley Road.



Thorpe later went to Lyon’s Restaurant in Grass Valley, shooting and killing Michael Markle and seriously injuring Richard Senuty.

“I wasn’t here 10 years ago, so I always feel somewhat not worthy to say anything,” Behavioral Health Director Michael Heggarty told the several dozen people who gathered at the Grass Valley office Monday morning. “We are here to honor and remember the victims … the staff members and the community members.”




“It could have been any one of us,” said Joan Rogers-Toensing, chairwoman of the county Mental Health board. “These things cut really deep.”

Nevada County Supervisor Ed Scofield told Behavioral Health employees the tragedy taught him to “truly appreciate the work you do – this is an opportunity to say ‘thank you.'”

According to Heggarty, Monday probably marked the last time the county would commemorate the shootings with a memorial. Instead, he said, the focus will be on a county-wide effort to educate the community about Laura’s Law.

The California state law, named for Laura Wilcox, allows for court-ordered assisted outpatient treatment for the mentally ill. Nevada County is the only county in California to have implemented it

A minute of silence will be observed in the Board of Supervisors meeting today.

To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, e-mail lkellar@theunion.com or call (530) 477-4229.


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