CORNETTSVILLE, Ky. — A man seeking prescription painkillers shot and killed a doctor at a Perry County medical clinic on Tuesday morning, according to state police.
Dr. Dennis Sandlin, 57, of Delphia died after being shot at Leatherwood/Blackey Medical Clinic in Cornettsville.
John Combs, 46, of Redfox in neighboring Knott County, was arrested after the shooting, state police said. Combs has been charged with murder.
Perry County Coroner Jimmy Maggard said Sandlin was shot in the head with a handgun while writing on a chart outside the clinic's exam rooms. He was pronounced dead at the scene at 12:53 p.m. An autopsy was scheduled for Wednesday in Frankfort.
The shooting took place in front of other staff and patients, said Mike Caudill, CEO of Mountain Comprehensive Health Corp., which owns the clinic.
Police say Combs went to the office to see Sandlin, the only physician on the staff of about 20 at the clinic in the mountainous southern part of the county.
Clinic employees said Combs became angry and combative after refusing to take a urine test as a requirement for being prescribed pain pills, Perry County Sheriff's Deputy Sam Mullins said.
Early Tuesday, Combs had unsuccessfully tried to obtain pain pills at a clinic in Whitesburg, Mullins said.
When he was refused at the Leatherwood/Blackey Medical Clinic, Combs threatened to come back and blow up the clinic, Mullins said.
Mullins responded to that complaint about 9:30 a.m. Combs had left by then, and clinic employees declined to press terroristic threatening charges against him.
Mullins said he thought Combs was doctor-shopping for pain pills and would move on to another clinic.
At about 11:40 a.m. Sandlin was fatally shot. No one else was hurt.
Mullins said he was shocked by the shooting.
"He must have really been over the edge for his pills," the deputy said of Combs. "He went ballistic."
Combs was wanted on an outstanding bench warrant. A state trooper waited for Combs at the suspect's home and arrested him there, Mullins said.
Combs was being held at the Kentucky River Regional Jail in Hazard. Bail had not been set as of Tuesday evening.
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