Man who tried to shoot UNL students to get treatment plan

The ex-University of Nebraska-Lincoln student who tried to fire on fellow students in 1992 fails to understand the gravity of what he did, a psychiatrist at the Lincoln Regional Center said Thursda
2009-02-05T00:00:00Z Man who tried to shoot UNL students to get treatment planLORI PILGER / The Lincoln Journal Star JournalStar.com
February 05, 2009 12:00 am  • 

The ex-University of Nebraska-Lincoln student who tried to fire on fellow students in 1992 fails to understand the gravity of what he did, a psychiatrist at the Lincoln Regional Center said Thursday.

Arthur McElroy has been held at the center’s Forensic Mental Health Services unit since December 1992.

It appears he will remain there for now.

About 20 students escaped injury Oct. 12, 1992, when the .30-caliber, semi-automatic, military carbine McElroy carried into into an actuarial science class jammed.

At an annual review hearing in Lancaster County District Court on Thursday, Dr. Klaus Hartmann, a psychiatrist at the regional center, said McElroy doesn’t appear to be dangerous now.

But, he said, he was concerned McElroy doesn’t realize the seriousness of what he did.

“He either does not remember or does not want to talk about the event that brought him to the attention of law enforcement,” Hartmann said.

And, he said, McElroy has not, to his knowledge, expressed remorse for what he’d done.

Hartmann also was concerned that McElroy doesn’t feel he needs the anti-psychotic medication he takes and “considers himself discharge ready.”

He said McElroy is functioning fairly well. But, he thinks that if he were released he likely would stop taking his medication, which could lead to a relapse.

Hartmann also was concerned about McElroy properly treating a kidney problem and sticking to a proper diet.

Scott Helvie, McElroy’s attorney, pointed out that failing to take medication is a typical problem for people with significant mental illness. And it’s not uncommon to not stick to a diet.

Both could be monitored with home health care, Helvie said.

He also asked what was being done in the way of setting goals and objectives for McElroy.

“That needs to be the ultimate goal of any type of treatment plan,” he said.

Helvie asked Hartmann what the regional center had done last year to address the perceived lack of insight McElroy had for what happened.

Hartmann said he didn’t know which of the treatment team had talked to McElroy about it, and he conceded McElroy may have an understanding and not be vocalizing it. Early on, he said, efforts were more vigorous but progress wasn’t great.

District Judge Paul Merritt Jr. gave the regional center 60 days to prepare a more detailed treatment plan for McElroy.

Reach Lori Pilger at 473-7237 or lpilger@journalstar.com.

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