A former Dayton VA Medical Center employee suspected of shooting another man in the ankle at the medical center had no employee disciplinary issues in his 27 years on the job, a Dayton VA spokesman said.
Authorities identified the suspect as Neil R. Moore, 59, of Trotwood, who was described by neighbors as a soft-spoken family man who often greeted others.
Moore was a retired Dayton VA housekeeping aide who had worked at the medical center campus for nearly three decades until last October. He had no disciplinary issues and had been recognized with employee awards, VA spokesman Ted Froats said.
The shooting victim, Paul A. Burnside, 61, is a Dayton VA housekeeping aide who has worked at the medical center since 1998, Froats said.
Authorities said the alleged shooting occurred in a basement break room Monday around noon, causing a security lock down on the sprawling campus. Burnside was shot in the ankle with a revolver during an apparent struggle with Moore, police said.
A records search showed Moore filed for bankruptcy in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of Ohio in 2009, and the case was terminated in 2012. Moore was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps after a three-year stint in uniform ended in 1977, Froats said.
Moore’s Trotwood neighbors and friends who talked with the Dayton Daily News described him as a family man and were surprised by news of the shooting.
Myshalee Williams, a neighbor who has known Moore for more than two decades, described him as a soft-spoken person who greeted people anytime he saw them.
“He’s loving,” Williams said. “He’s a good person. He’s a really good family man.”
Williams said Moore had a party at his home this past weekend and appeared to be in good spirits.
Neighbor Cary Conyer has lived in the Shadowbrook Drive neighborhood for seven years and described Moore as a even-tempered, well-mannered guy.
“It just sounds unbelievable,” Conyer said. “He’s not that kind of guy … He’s just a good guy.”
Authorities said Burnside, a VA employee and an Army veteran, momentarily struggled with Moore before Moore allegedly shot him in an ankle with a revolver.
Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl said Moore and Burnside may have known each other, but detailed information on Moore’s possible motives were scarce Monday.
Quincy Howard, one of Burnside’s neighbors, did not seem surprised that his neighbor struggled with Moore when Moore confronted him in the basement of the medical center.
“No, it doesn’t surprise me,” Howard said. “He’s (Burnside) a pretty stand-up guy.”
Howard said Burnside’s actions may have saved multiple lives.
“It could have been a worse situation,” he said. “Someone could have taken out lives, innocent lives. Someone carrying a gun was being foolish.”
Of Howard, he said, “I would say he’s a hero for his working for the people … I don’t know if I would do that. It depends on the situation.”
Cora Howard, another neighbor, described Burnside as a quiet but good neighbor.
“Good Jesus,” she said when she first heard Burnside had been shot but was still alive and was recovering. “That’s terrible.”
“He stayed to himself, he didn’t bother nobody,” Howard said. “He’d just go to work, come in and out of his house, and that’s all I saw him do.”
“He’s a good man … He didn’t bother nobody, none of that,” she added.
Howard herself visited the VA medical center around 11 a.m. Monday, but was able to leave well before the shooting.
“I hope he gets better, and I hope he gets well,” she said of her neighbor.
Of the suspect, she said, “He needs to go to jail.”