No Evidence Help Denied to Vet before Suicide: VA Director

Surveillance video shows that the 76-year-old veteran never entered the medical center before committing suicide in the parking lot, the facility's director says

What to Know

  • Former Navy Gunner Peter Kaisen, 76, was found dead from a gunshot wound in the parking lot of the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center
  • Two unnamed medical center employees told news reporters that the suicide occurred after Kaisen was denied help at the emergency room
  • The facility's director says there is no evidence that Kaisen entered the facility before taking his life

There is no evidence that a former Navy gunner who killed himself earlier this week outside a veterans medical center on Long Island was denied treatment that day, says the facility's director.

Philip Moschitta, director of the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center, states in an Aug. 26 letter to Congressman Lee Zeldin that the facility's preliminary review of the incident uncovered no indication that Peter Kaisen had entered the center before his body was found last Sunday in the parking lot.

"It appears the details of the tragic incident may have been misrepresented in the media coverage," he wrote.

The letter is a response to a request for information made by Zeldin, who represents the area and sits on the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

Kaisen, 76, a resident of Islip, was found dead of a gunshot wound last Sunday in a parking lot at the facility.

Moschitta said in the letter that video surveillance shows Kaisen enter the parking lot and remain there for 12 minutes. He adds that there are no emergency room records indicating that he sought help that day.

"While at this time, it appears that the individual did not seek any medical attention we will continue to review additional surveillance cameras near the entrance of our emergency room, and all of our telephone records to see if the individual contacted our facility within the last week," he wrote.

"Please understand that our staff of medical professionals would never turn away an individual who required any level of healthcare."

Two people connected to the medical center anonymously told news reporters after the incident that Kaisen was angry because he was denied emergency room care.

His wife, Joan Kaisen, told reporters that her husband suffered from severe back pain caused by an auto accident in the 1960s when he was a police officer.

U.S. Reps. Peter King, a Republican, and Steve Israel, a Democrat, sent a letter to the heads of the FBI and the Department of Veterans Affairs asking for a "transparent" investigation into the death.

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