A man carrying a rifle and a handgun opened fire at a medical office building in Tulsa, Okla., on Wednesday afternoon, killing four people and injuring several others before apparently committing suicide in the latest mass shooting. mass to shock the country, authorities said.
In an interview Wednesday night, Capt. Richard Meulenberg of the Tulsa Police Department said the attack was not random.
“This was not an individual who just decided he wanted to go find a hospital full of random people,” he said. “He deliberately made the choice to come here and his actions were deliberate.” Captain Meulenberg declined to say more about the shooter’s motive.
Police have not released the identity of the shooter, but at an earlier press conference Deputy Chief Eric Dalgleish said he was between 35 and 40 years old.
Police received a call about a shooting at 4:52 p.m., and they arrived on the scene four minutes later, Chief Dalgleish said. All of the shots allegedly took place in a second-floor section of the Natalie Medical Building on the campus of Saint Francis Hospital, he said. The sound of gunfire drew officers to this area.
“There’s an orthopedic center, an orthopedic practice, there, but I don’t know if it takes up the whole floor, or if there are other offices upstairs,” he said. he said, adding that it was “at least part of the scene”. .”
When officers arrived at the second-floor entrance, the gunfire stopped, Capt. Meulenberg said in a phone interview. Officers entered and immediately found a victim, and as they continued their search, they found the body of the shooter, who had apparently shot himself with a pistol, he said.
Chief Dalgleish said the victims could have been a combination of workers and patients. None of the injured suffered life-threatening injuries, police said, and no officers were injured in the attack, in which the gunman fired both guns.
Captain Meulenberg said the number of people with gunshot wounds appeared to be “very low”, but that there were other injuries linked to hundreds of people fleeing the building at the time of the attack. “Imagine a scene of mass chaos,” he said. “You can hear gunshots ringing out.”
The Muskogee Police Department said it was alerted by the Tulsa Police Department that the shooter may have left a bomb at a residence in Muskogee, about 50 miles southeast of Tulsa. Muskogee police evacuated the home and asked those present to stay inside, the department said.
A bomb squad was en route to the residence late Wednesday, and Muskogee police were working to obtain a search warrant to search the home.
Tulsa Mayor GT Bynum said at the press conference that some of the families of the victims have yet to be told what happened.
“It was the facility more than any other that saved the lives of the people of this town,” Mr Bynum said. He hailed “the wide range of first responders today who did not hesitate to respond to this act of violence”.
The White House said President Biden was notified of the shooting, which came just eight days after 19 students and two teachers were killed in a mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, and 18 days after 10 people were killed by a gunman in a supermarket. in Buffalo, NY
Asked about his response to putting Tulsa on the list of US cities that have seen mass shootings in recent weeks, Bynum said his “thoughts are with the victims here, many of whose families aren’t even unaware of that”. Again.”
“If we want to have a political discussion, that’s something to have in the future, but not tonight, not tonight,” Mr Bynum said.
Cliff Robertson, chief executive of Saint Francis Hospital, said: “There will be a very bumpy road, I think, ahead of us.”
“But there are more than 10,000 people who are part of the Saint Francis health system who dedicate their lives every day to caring for those in need, to caring for all those in need, and this senseless act , horrible and incomprehensible is not going to change. that,” Mr. Robertson said.
Governor Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma said in a statement late Wednesday that today’s shooting in Tulsa was “a senseless act of violence and hate.”
Before the press conference, Captain Meulenberg said the gunfire had stopped and authorities were searching the building “floor by floor, room by room.”
“It’s a catastrophic scene out there right now,” Captain Meulenberg told reporters outside the hospital.
Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin said the Twitter that police responded to an “active shooter incident” near East 61st Street and South Yale Avenue in Tulsa and adjacent to Saint Francis Hospital.
“Please stay clear of the area and yield to all emergency vehicles while we process this response,” Chief Franklin said.
The Tulsa Police Department said the Twitter that he had set up a family reunification site at Memorial High School.
Jason Bailey contributed reporting and Jack Begg and Sheelagh McNeill contributed research.