A Navy doctor who allegedly shot two people during a 10-hour stand-off last month will be prosecuted through the military legal system rather than in federal court, the U.S. attorney's office said Tuesday.
As a result, Lt. Cmdr. Ann Dalrymple now faces charges of two assaults with a deadly weapon, possession of a firearm and ammunition and of being absent without authorization that will be adjudicated through the military.
Dalrymple, 37, was to have attended a military magistrate's hearing Tuesday to determine whether she should be released from custody. But the hearing was postponed at her request until Thursday afternoon.
Meanwhile, she has been moved out of the Navy Hospital in Balboa Park, where she was taken for observation after the Sept. 24 confrontation at the 32nd Street Naval Station and placed with seven other female military prisoners being held in the brig aboard the destroyer tender Cape Cod, docked at the naval station.
Officials said it could be more than a month before it is determined whether the charges against the doctor should be heard by a military court-martial. If it is ruled that she should be tried under a court-martial proceeding, she would at that time enter a formal plea.
James W. Brannigan Jr., chief of the criminal division in the U.S. attorney's office, said Tuesday that his staff notified Capt. Malcolm Law, chief of the naval medical clinic at the 32nd Street Station, that the case should not be pursued in the federal court system because it appeared to be a military matter.
"We reviewed the facts and circumstances and decided to decline (seeking federal charges) in favor of a military prosecution," Brannigan said. "It's a military case involving military regulations and military problems. It's much better handled in a military forum."
Law declined to comment Tuesday on the case. However Pat Kelly, a spokeswoman for the naval medical command, said the case will be adjudicated by the Navy "because it happened on a military installation and because military personnel were involved."
She said the assault charges stem from the fact that two men were shot and wounded during the lengthy siege at her apartment. Dr. James T. Fowler III, a Navy psychiatrist, was wounded in the hand when he allegedly used a pass key to gain entry into Dalrymple's apartment in the station's bachelors' officers quarters. And San Diego police officer Edward M. Verduzco was shot in the knee as police SWAT members broke into her bathroom.
Rule Against Firearms
As to the firearm and ammunition possession charge, Kelly said: "It's not allowed for individuals to possess firearms on the base or the BOQ. Every person who lives there signs a paper saying they won't bring them in."
Kelly said Dalrymple is facing the unauthorized leave charge on grounds that she refused to appear before her commanding officer when Fowler and two other officers arrived at her second-floor apartment.
Navy officials have said Dalrymple has had problems in the past, particularly since her removal from the neurosurgery residency program at the UC San Diego Medical Center. Dalrymple has maintained that she has been the target of sexual discrimination in the Navy.