Man killed doctor after pain medicine disagreement

To some extent, Dr. Todd Graham was killed for refusing to write a pain pill prescription to the wife of the man who shot him.

Dr. Todd Graham

On Thursday afternoon, the gunman was identified as 48-year-old Michael Jarvis.

“Doctors should never get shot. Doctors are trying to do what they can to help people and I think that’s what’s so tragic about this. Every homicide is tragic, but this one in particular hits home. Hits home to our medical professionals, their job is to try to help people and that’s certainly what Dr. Graham was doing and for whatever reason this man decided that he was going to take Dr. Graham’s life,” said St. Joseph County Prosecutor Ken Cotter.

Jarvis’ wife had an appointment with Dr. Graham on Wednesday morning. That’s where she learned of his decision to deny pain pills because her condition was chronic.

Michael Jarvis was there too and started arguing with the doctor when he learned of the situation.

Jarvis eventually left, but came back that afternoon.
“At some point, Jarvis came back, Dr. Graham just before 1:00 p.m. left the orthopedic building to travel to the rehab building. During the course of that traveling came in contact with Jarvis again, there was again an argument. Dr. Graham continued to the rehabilitation building. Jarvis followed him. Got out, there were two witnesses who were in close proximity. Jarvis went to the two witnesses and told them to leave. They saw a gun. Jarvis then proceeded to shoot and kill Dr. Graham,” said Prosecutor Cotter.

“This was a very targeted attack,” said Commander Tim Corbett of Saint Joseph County Metro Homicide. “I am a firm believer — and I think Ken feels the same way — that if Jarvis would have got inside that building, although there wouldn’t have been any specific target, it’s like trapping an animal in a corner: they’re going to come out fighting. I truly believe this could have escalated into a mass shooting. I do believe that.”

Jarvis then drove to a friend’s home and indicated “that he was no longer going to be around,” according to Cotter. The friend contacted police out of concern for Jarvis’s safety. Before law enforcement arrived, Jarvis took his own life.

“Make no mistake; this was a person who made a choice to kill Dr. Graham. This is not a fallout from any opioid epidemic or any opioid problems. This is a person who made that choice,” Cotter explained. “That probably leads us into an examination of what is happening with the opioid problem in our community, and frankly in our whole nation.”

Watch Thursday afternoon’s news conference.

Cotter says Jarvis’s wife wasn’t aware of her husband’s actions.

“It was clear that she didn’t know what he was doing. She’s suffering as well,” he explained.

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