Kory Prusaitis, a 25-year-old resident of Winterling Place in Palm Coast, was sitting in a chair at the AdventHealth emergency room waiting room in Palm Coast in early afternoon Tuesday (June 15). He was upset at hospital staff when told that his mother couldn’t come into the waiting room with him.
According to his arrest report, the 6-foot, 235-pound man then went on a small rampage, striking three people and ending up facing felony and misdemeanor battery charges. He’s being held at the Flagler County jail.
Surveillance camera footage shows Prusaitis suddenly standing up, “raising his right fist above his head and striking [J.] on the back of his head,” according to the arrest report. “The blow caused [J.] to stagger forward. He is shown turning toward [F.]. The footage did not clearly show him strike [F.]. Kory is then seen running out of the waiting room into the parking lot.”
“We have a well-staffed on-site safety and security department,” Dr. Paul Mucciolo, the medical director who oversees the ER at AdventHealth, said this morning. “We work closely with law enforcement who are prompt to respond to the needs of our patients and staff.”
It isn’t unusual for deputies, police officers and medical staff at the hospital to contend with belligerent and at times violent individuals, though more often than not, the individuals typically are in police custody and are brought to the ER for medical clearance–either because they speak of having symptoms that warrant medical attention, like chest pains, or because they have been tased, or because they are injured. At times they act up against the people caring for them and end up facing more serious charges over that. Tuesday’s case is a bit unusual because it took place in the waiting room, apparently escalating unexpectedly and much too rapidly for hospital security to intervene in time.
It’s not clear for what medical reason Prusaitis had gone to the emergency room. To one of the alleged victims, he appeared intoxicated and struck his first target inexplicably, on top of the head and with a closed fist. The second alleged victim walked up to him to try to stop him from hitting the man again–and himself got struck in much the same way. The first victim said he was talking to a staff member when he felt the blow to his head knock off his cap (he says he did not lose his balance). He then saw Prusaitis run out of the ER. He had to be treated for a bump on his head.
The third victim is a member of the AdventHealth security staff who chased after Prusaitis in the parking lot, where Prusaitis attempted to punch him, he told authorities. The security guard ducked. Prusaitis swung again, this time striking the guard with a closed first in the back of the head before the guard was able to take him down and detain him in handcuffs. The guard did not have any visible injuries and declined treatment.
Even after his arrest, Prusaitis had to be medically cleared. As he was being so cleared, he said he had “struck the old man,” and said he would “hit them all again,” according to his arrest report.
“The emergency room is a place where people go to feel better, not to be battered,” said Sheriff Rick Staly. “I want to thank the bystanders that came to the first victim’s aid and commend the security guard for his efforts in successfully detaining this guy and assisting our deputies in getting him off the streets and
behind bars where he belongs.”
Prusaitis faces two counts of simple battery and one felony count of battery on a person over 65.