ORLANDO, Fla. -- The person who gunned down a Florida transplant surgeon Thursday night was a patient who then killed himself.
The patient, 53-year-old Nelson Flecha of Orange City, Fla., shot Dr. Dmitriy A. Nikitin in a parking garage at Florida Hospital's main campus in Orlando, police told The Orlando Sentinel Friday morning.
Police said video surveillance taken from the garage supports the theory that Flecha targeted Nikitin, 41, though it wasn't clear why.
Officers have recovered numerous handguns at the scene and are working to determine a motive, police spokeswoman Lt. Barbara Jones said.
During a brief press conference Friday morning, Florida Hospital Orlando Administrator David Banks said "professionals" are working with the doctor's family to get through the tragedy.
A memorial service will be planned for Nikitin next week.
"We're very saddened by the loss of Dr. Nikitin," Banks said. "He was a highly skilled professional surgeon, an advocate for patients and an asset to our community."
Banks said the transplant process for other patients will not be disrupted.
He declined to answer questions about hospital security or about the relationship between Flecha and Nikitin.
Hospital officials said Thursday Nikitin was a multi-organ transplant surgeon. Records show he did not have any malpractice complaints against him.
"The whole hospital is grieving at this moment," said Florida Hospital spokeswoman Samantha O'Lenick. "We're trying to provide support to the employees right now."
According to his profile on the Florida Hospital website, Nikitin was "board certified in general surgery specializing in multi-organ abdominal transplant surgery. He completed his Transplantation Surgery Fellowship at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas and his General Surgery Residency at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania."
Nikitin completed his residency in anesthesia and intensive care in Omsk, Russia, the profile said. In addition to English, he spoke Russian, Ukrainian and Spanish.
He was also an assistant professor at the University of Central Florida's College of Medicine, according to the school's website.
Almost a year ago, he was part of a surgical team that set a Florida Hospital record for the most number of transplants ever done in a weekend. By the time the surgeons put down their scalpels, they had transplanted three livers and five kidneys and harvested two hearts, four livers, four sets of kidneys and a pancreas.
Police say the suspect lived alone in an Orange City, Fla., apartment. Flecha's family told police he was a patient of Nikitin, Jones said.
No one answered the door at Flecha's apartment in the Oak Shade apartment complex Friday morning. Neighbors did not respond to knocks at their doors.
A bicycle with duct tape on the handle bars was chained to the railing in front of the unit Flecha was believed to live in. A barbecue grill and a small table with chairs were on the patio, and the blinds were drawn.
The apartment office was locked, and no one answered the door there either.
Florida Department of Law Enforcement records show Flecha had no criminal history in the state.
(Staff writers Jeff Weiner and Gary Taylor contributed to this report.)
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