Gunman who killed 4 people at Oklahoma doctor’s office was targeting his surgeon, police say | CBC News

A man who blamed his surgeon for ongoing pain after recent back surgery bought an AR-style rifle hours before he opened fire at a Tulsa, Oklahoma, doctor’s office, killing the doctor and three others in an attack that ended with him taking his own life, police said Thursday.

The gunman called the clinic repeatedly complaining of pain and specifically targeted the doctor who performed the surgery, Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin said.

That doctor, Dr. Preston Phillips, was killed Wednesday, along with Dr. Stephanie Husen, receptionist Amanda Glenn and patient William Love, police said. The attack occurred on the Saint Francis Health System campus in Tulsa.

It was the latest in a series of mass shootings in the United States, including the deadly shooting at a school in Uvalde, Texas, and an attack on a supermarket in Buffalo, New York.

The 45-year-old gunman was carrying a letter that said he was targeting Phillips, Franklin said. The letter “made it clear that he entered with the intent to kill Dr. Phillips and anyone who stood in his way,” Franklin said. “He blamed Dr. Phillips for the continued pain after the surgery.”

Fondly remembered victims

Phillips was an orthopedic surgeon interested in spinal surgery and joint reconstruction, according to a profile on the clinic’s website. He once served as the chief physician for the Tulsa WNBA team before the franchise moved out of state, according to Tulsa World.

Dr. Cliff Robertson, president and CEO of Saint Francis Health System, called Phillips a “consummate gentleman” and “a man we should all strive to emulate.”

He said that the three employees killed were “the three best people in the entire world” and that they “didn’t deserve to die this way.”

The shooting left four people dead, in addition to the gunman, who police said apparently died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. (J Pat Carter/Getty Images)

Weapons legally purchased shortly before the attack

Police believe the gunman purchased his weapons legally, Franklin said. The gunman purchased an AR-style semi-automatic rifle the afternoon of the shooting and a handgun on Sunday, the police chief said.

Franklin praised law enforcement officers, 911 operators and emergency services for their “immediate response” to Wednesday’s attack.

Police responded to the call about three minutes after dispatchers received the report at 4:52 p.m. local time and made contact with the gunman at 5:01 p.m., authorities said Wednesday.

“Our training led us to take immediate action without hesitation,” he said. “That is exactly what officers do and that is what they did in this case.

The time it took for police officers in Uvalde to confront the gunman during the deadly shooting at a Texas school last week has become a key focus of that investigation. Officers waited more than an hour to break into the classroom where the shooter attacked.

CLOCK | The Tulsa Police Chief describes the events leading up to Wednesday’s shooting:

Tulsa gunman targeted doctor he blamed for post-surgery pain, police say

Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin described the events leading up to Wednesday’s deadly shooting at an Oklahoma doctor’s office by a man who blamed his doctor for pain after recent back surgery. Four people were killed in the attack, which police say ended with the shooter apparently taking his own life.

Political division on gun control legislation

Democratic leaders have expanded their calls for tighter restrictions on guns since the Uvalde shooting, while Republicans have emphasized safer schools.

The split reflects a partisan divide that has stymied action in Congress and many state capitols on how best to respond to a record number of gun-related deaths in the US.

Democrats in the Oklahoma House of Representatives called Thursday for a special session to consider gun safety legislation, but that’s unlikely to happen in a GOP-controlled legislature that has been pushing for years to loosen gun restrictions. Firearms.

Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt, who is running for re-election, said last week after the Texas shooting that it was too early to talk about gun policy.

A pro-gun group, the Oklahoma Second Amendment Association, is an influential force in the state Capitol, and the first bill Stitt signed into law after taking office in 2019 was a measure allowing most adults openly carry firearms without the required background check. check or train.

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