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Shooting suspect ordered to undergo psychiatric evaluation

A Palmyra man arrested after a weekend shooting incident has been ordered by Fluvanna General District Court Judge Dale Durrer to undergo in-patient psychiatric evaluation at the University of Virginia (U.Va.) Medical Center.

Floyd Henry Harris, 64, of Palmyra, was arraigned Tuesday morning (May 9) on charges of malicious wounding and use of a firearm in a felony.

Fluvanna County sheriff’s deputies responded May 5 to reports of a fight in Columbia that resulted in a gunshot wound. According to a sheriff’s office press release, they arrived to find one male with a gunshot wound to the hand and chest. The victim suffered non-life threatening injuries and was taken to U.Va. Medical Center.

The suspect fled the scene but was soon located. The suspect and victim knew each other, according to the release.

Harris's court-appointed attorney, John Gibson, told Judge Durrer that Harris’s family had been concerned about his mental condition “for the past couple years,” but Harris had refused their attempts get him help. Gibson said Harris was now willing to undergo an evaluation.

Gibson pointed out that Harris had no previous record of violence. While he stressed he was not pursuing a competency defense at the moment, he said medical evaluation seemed more appropriate than jail.

The prosecution did not object to Gibson’s argument.

Judge Durrer approved a “bed-to-bed transfer” from Central Virginia Regional Jail, where Harris has been held since his arrest, to U.Va. Medical Center. He will remain in custody during his stay on the psychiatric ward. 

Harris was ordered to appear in court May 16 for a status report.