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Acclaimed Memphis hand surgeon shot to death by patient in targeted attack: police

Respected Tennessee doctor Benjamin Mauck was gunned down Tuesday in an exam room at Campbell Clinic Orthopaedics by an enraged patient, according to police.

Top Tennessee orthopedic surgeon Benjamin Mauck was shot to death Tuesday in a targeted attack by an irate patient, police said. 

Larry Pickens, 29, allegedly waited for "several hours" before executing 43-year-old Mauck inside an exam room at Campbell Clinic Orthopaedics in Collierville, a town roughly 30 miles west of Memphis, authorities told reporters Tuesday at a news conference.

"This appears to be a one-on-one interaction," said Collierville Police Chief Dale Lane, adding that the gunman did not attack the many patients and employees who were present. 

After firing, the shooter ran outside the clinic and was arrested five minutes later. He had a gun, but he was not holding it, Lane said.

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"It’s bad. It’s horrific. It’s terrible," the police chief told reporters. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family."

Police released the suspect's name and booking photo Wednesday.

Pickens, Memphis, is charged with first-degree murder and aggravated assault. Bond was set at $1.2 million, and he's scheduled to be arraigned in Collierville Town Court Thursday.

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The Collierville Police Department added that it had no prior contacts with Pickens but is checking on whether he has a criminal history with other agencies.

Police did not disclose a possible motive for the slaying. But Tennessee Senate Minority Leader Raumesh Akbari, D-Memphis, said Tuesday the shooter had threatened a clinic employee over the course of the prior week.

Mauck, who graduated from the University of Tennessee-Memphis Medical School, specialized in elbow, hand and wrist surgery, according to his biography on Campbell Clinic's website.

He has more than 700 patient reviews with a rating of 4.9 out of five. "Awesome doctor!" one patient wrote. "He performed surgery on my left thumb. Thanks to him I'm sitting here with my left thumb."

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He is survived by his wife, Rhiannon Mauck, and two young children. In a statement, the clinic said it would close all nine of its locations Wednesday.

"We are shocked and heartbroken," the statement says. "We ask that you please lift his family in prayer."

The killing comes two weeks after Memphis Magazine published a feature on Mauck, saying he was named one of the 2023 Top Doctors in Memphis by the Castle Connolly medical group.

In addition to his work at Campbell, Mauck headed the congenital hand clinic at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital, according to the article.

He told the magazine he knew he wanted to be an orthopedic specialist since he was a teenager.

"The hand is how we interact with the outside world, and when your hand is involved, it affects almost every single thing you do," he said.

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