$1.2M bail set for man charged with killing Tennessee surgeon remembered as skilled, beloved doctor

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A man charged with killing a hand surgeon at a Tennessee clinic was being held on $1.2 million bail Thursday as those who knew the doctor remembered him as a skilled and beloved medical professional who cared for his patients.

Larry Pickens, 29, told a judge on Thursday that he could not afford the bail and wasn’t sure if he could afford a lawyer, the Commercial Appeal reported. He did not enter a plea. Judge Lee Ann Dobson told Pickens a public defender would not cost him anything and set his next court date for July 20.

Pickens was charged with first-degree murder and aggravated assault in the shooting of Dr. Benjamin Mauck at Campbell Clinic Orthopedics in the Memphis suburb of Collierville on Tuesday. Police said Mauck was shot in an exam room and that Pickens had been at the clinic for several hours before the shooting.

Authorities haven’t disclosed a possible motive for the shooting.

Meanwhile, police in the Memphis suburb of Germantown said they received two calls on July 5 about Pickens showing unusual behavior at the Campbell Clinic there. Pickens did not make any threats of violence, police said.

He was asked to leave the property and was warned about trespassing, police reports said.

“The staff was stating that Mr. Pickens was asking unusual questions about the doctors like where the doctors parked their cars,” a police report said.

Germantown and Collierville are east of Memphis.

The Collierville clinic remained closed Thursday, but other locations that were closed after the shooting have reopened, Campbell Clinic said in a statement.

“You will notice additional safety measures at all locations, including increased security presence and security patrol,” the statement said. “We have also requested local law enforcement to increase their patrol of our locations.”

Mauck’s family released a statement through lawyer Blanchard E. Tual on Thursday.

“This week, a senseless act of violence took an incredible person from us,” the family said. “Ben was a surgeon, husband, father, son, brother, mentor, and friend. As we grieve this tragedy, our family is choosing to focus on the positive contributions Ben made to the world, personally and professionally.”

Patients and colleagues remembered Mauck as a dedicated physician and friend.

Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital said its staff were grieving the loss of their colleague. “He left a mark on the lives of the many patients he helped and our Le Bonheur family,” the hospital said in a tweet.

Mauck joined the Le Bonheur/Campbell Clinic Pediatric Hand Clinic in 2012 after completing a hand surgery fellowship at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, according to an article posted on the hospital’s website.

The clinic treats children with congenital abnormalities or traumatic injuries of the hand and upper extremities, the hospital said.

“The human hand is a so important to what makes us human — how we interact with the world around us and each other,” Mauck said in the article. “I wanted to be a part of restoring a patients’ ability to do that.”

In the article, Kaitlynn Vaughn said Mauck operated on the clasped thumbs of her 4-year-old son, who was born with a form of arthrogryposis, a genetic disorder that primarily affected his hands and feet.

“We love Dr. Mauck and are so happy with how Cayden’s procedure turned out,” she said.

In an email sent to Le Bonheur staff after the shooting, interim president and surgeon-in-chief Trey Eubanks called Mauck’s death “an unthinkable tragedy.” Eubanks said Mauck was a beloved colleague and dedicated doctor.

“We already miss him,” Eubanks said in a statement sent to The Associated Press.

Mauck graduated from Lambuth University in 2002 and the University of Tennessee’s medical school in 2006, according to a biography posted on Campbell Clinic’s website.

Memphis musician Chris Milam said Mauck performed surgery on his hand in 2018.

“My future as a guitar player & artist would’ve looked drastically different if not for his work,” Milam said in a tweet. “I knew him as an excellent doctor and a cheerful, conscientious man.”

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Cover Photo: This image provided by the Campbell Clinic Orthopedics shows Dr. Benjamin Mauck. Larry Pickens was charged with first-degree murder and aggravated assault in the shooting of Dr. Mauck at Campbell Clinic Orthopedics in the Memphis suburb of Collierville on Tuesday, July 11, 2023. (Greg Campbell/Campbell Clinic Orthopedics via AP)

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