Gunman who killed 4 at Oklahoma medical building had been a patient of a victim, police chief says
Shooter Michael Louis, who police said killed himself after the rampage in Tulsa, had just earlier that afternoon legally purchased one of the firearms used in the slaughter, an AR-15 style rifle, city Police Chief Wendell Franklin said during a news conference.
Louis entered a physicians’ office building at Tulsa’s Saint Francis Hospital campus late Wednesday afternoon and shot dead his erstwhile surgeon, Dr. Preston Phillips, and three other people before fatally shooting himself, said Franklin.
The other three victims at the Natalie Medical Building were Dr. Stephanie Husen, receptionist Amanda Glenn and patient William Love, authorities said.
Officers found a letter on Louis that “made it clear that he came in with the intent to kill Dr. Phillips and anyone who got in his way,” Franklin said.
“He blamed Dr. Phillips for the ongoing pain following the surgery,” Franklin said, later calling the letter’s contents “a clear motive.”
The others, Franklin said, just “stood in the way, and Louis gunned them down.”
An unspecified number of other people were injured in the shooting on the building’s second floor, officials said at Thursday’s news conference, declining to say whether the injuries were caused by gunshots or attempts to flee the violence. Authorities had earlier said that fewer than 10 people had non-life-threatening injuries
The Tulsa shooting is one of the 233 mass shootings in the US this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive. CNN and the archive define a mass shooting as one in which at least four people are shot, excluding the shooter.
Louis, of Muskogee, a city roughly 45 miles southeast of Tulsa, had back surgery on May 19 performed by Phillips, and was released from a hospital May 24. He then called Phillips’ office several times over several days, complaining of pain and wanting additional treatment, according to Franklin.
Louis saw Phillips on Tuesday for treatment, and called Phillips’ office again on Wednesday before the shooting, “complaining of back pain and wanting additional assistance,” Franklin said.
Louis bought an AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle from a gun store at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Franklin said. Louis also had bought a .40-caliber pistol from a pawn shop on Sunday, Franklin said.
The two firearms were both found at the scene, Tulsa police Capt. Richard Meulenberg told CNN on Wednesday. “It was just madness inside, with hundreds of rooms and hundreds of people trying to get out of the building,” Meulenberg told CNN.
Person on video chat with doctor called 911,
Police were initially alerted about the shooting in a 911 at 4:53 p.m. Wednesday. The call was made by someone off campus who’d been on a video chat with a doctor who was at the building, Franklin said.
“The doctor told her to call 911, saying there has been a shooting,” Franklin said.
Responding officers arrived at 4:56 p.m., Franklin said. Two minutes later, officers who’d reached the second floor heard a gunshot, the chief said.
“We believe that was the final gunshot, with the suspect taking his own life,” Franklin said.
At least one slain person was found in the same room as the gunman, as well as an uninjured female who was “hiding under a desk at the suspect’s foot,” Franklin said.
Witnesses describe frantic first moments
“I mean, you see it on TV,” her daughter-in-law said, “but you don’t think it’s actually going to happen right in front of your eyes, so this is a wakeup call for my kids, this can really happen anywhere and it’s very scary.”
“You can’t even go to a store, you can’t even go to school, now you can’t go to the doctor?”
Debra Proctor was in another building on the hospital campus for an appointment when she heard police sirens.
“Police were everywhere in the parking lot, up and down the surrounding blocks,” said Proctor, a registered nurse for more than four decades. “They were still arriving when I was leaving.”
Kalen Davis, a lifelong Tulsa resident, was waiting in traffic around 5 p.m. local time when she saw multiple police cars responding to the scene.
In a video she shared with CNN, authorities can be seen running toward a building with their guns drawn. Two officers are seen taking long guns out of their trunks as more emergency vehicles race to the scene.
“I just knew that it was a shooting situation because I saw police running with rifles,” Davis, 45, told CNN. “That’s when I got emotional.”
Shooting occurred at town ‘sacred ground’
Oklahoma state Rep. Melissa Provenzano, whose district includes the hospital, told CNN she was on campus the morning of the shooting and called it “the center of our community.”
“This is just one of the hallmark locations in our town,” she said, and credited hospital staff there for saving her father’s life when he contracted Covid-19.
“This campus is sacred ground for our community,” said Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum, who also expressed “profound gratitude” for the first responders who “did not hesitate today to respond to this act of violence.”
“The men and women of the Tulsa Police Department did not hesitate,” the mayor said.
Provenzano also hailed the effective police response yet urged more proactive work is needed to curb similar shootings in the future.
“I just can’t say enough good things about them,” she said of the police, “but you know, why were they needed in the first place?”
Correction: An earlier version of this story gave the wrong last name for victim Amanda Glenn due to incorrect information from police.
CNN’s Andy Rose, Evan Perez, Amy Simonson, Christina Maxouris, Elizabeth Joseph, Amanda Jackson, Kaitlin Collins, Sharif Paget, Melissa Macaya and Elise Hammond contributed to this report.
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Published for: Ipodifier