Four Dead, Many More Injured in Tulsa Hospital Shooting
TULSA, Okla. — Four people were killed and multiple others were injured after a shooter attacked a Tulsa medical building on Wednesday.
Law enforcement responded to an active shooting situation at the St. Francis Health System’s Natalie Medical Building at 4:56 p.m. local time, three minutes after dispatch received the call, Tulsa Police Department Deputy Chief Eric Dalgleish said during a briefing with reporters.
Officers heard shots ring out as they entered the building and made their way to the building’s second floor.
Detectives were at the scene interviewing witnesses at the time of the media briefing and an ad hoc family reunification center had been established in the auditorium of Tulsa’s Memorial High School, Dalgleish said. No officers were injured when responding to the shooting and the number of civilian injuries was not clear at the time of Dalgleish’s update.
The lone suspect’s motive in the shooting was also unknown at the time, as was their identity. The weapons carried by the shooter were a rifle and a handgun, both of which appeared to have been fired during the mayhem, Dalgleish said. The perpetrator died of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Law enforcement said only that there were “multiple” injuries, and that they may have been a combination of hospital staff and visitors. An investigation was underway to determine if the attack was targeted. Multiple state and federal agencies were on the scene helping conduct the investigation and neighboring sheriff’s offices had offered assistance.
Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin said on Thursday that the shooter had targeted a doctor that performed back surgery on him. The doctor was killed in the attack on Wednesday. Authorities also said the perpetrator had purchased the rifle used in the shooting hours before he arrived at the hospital.
“There will obviously be many questions and there will be a very bumpy road I think ahead of us,” Cliff Robertson, president and chief executive officer of the St. Francis Health System, said at the scene on Wednesday. “But there are over 10,000 people that are part of the St. Francis Health System that every day commit their lives to taking care of people in need — taking care of everyone in need. And this senseless, horrible, incomprehensible act is not going to change that.”
Under United States federal code, a “mass killing” is defined as three or more people being killed in a single incident. By this definition, there have been at least 17 mass casualty shootings dating back to the start of Memorial Day weekend.
The shooting in Tulsa on Wednesday came eight days after 21 people were killed and 17 were injured during a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, previously reported by The Well News.
The shooting at the Natalie Medical Building came just days after one person was killed and seven others injured at an outdoor festival in Taft, Oklahoma, which is about 45 miles southeast of Tulsa, according to the Associated Press.
“This campus is sacred ground for our community,” Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said during the press conference. “For decades, this campus has been a place where people have come to work. Heroes have come to work every day to save the lives of people in our community. … This has been the facility more than any other that has worked to save the lives of people in this city.”
Reece can be reached at [email protected] and https://twitter.com/ReeceNWrites
This story has been updated to include statement from Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin.
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