Gunman who killed 4 people at Oklahoma medical office was targeting his surgeon, police say | The Canadian News


A man who blamed his surgeon for ongoing pain after a recent back surgery bought an AR-style rifle hours before he opened fire at a Tulsa medical office, killing the surgeon and three other people before fatally shooting himself, police said Thursday.

Tulsa police Chief Wendell Franklin says the gunman had recently undergone back surgery and had called a clinic repeatedly complaining of pain.

Franklin says the doctor who performed the surgery, Dr. Preston Phillips, was killed Wednesday, along with another doctor, a receptionist and a patient.

“We also have a letter on the suspect, which 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.”

Dr. Cliff Robertson, president and CEO of Saint Francis Health System, called Phillips “the consummate gentleman” and “a man that we should all strive to emulate.” He said the three employees who were killed were “the three best people in the entire world” and that they “didn’t deserve to die this way.”

Authorities said the gunman carried a rifle and a handgun during Wednesday’s shooting, the latest in a series of deadly mass shootings across the country in recent weeks.

The shooting at a medical building on the hospital campus of the Saint Francis Health System happened the same week that families in Uvalde, Texas, began burying loved ones killed in the deadliest school shooting in nearly a decade.

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

The Tulsa victims and gunman were found on the second floor of a medical office where an orthopedic clinic is located, police said. The shooter died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, Tulsa police Deputy Chief Eric Dalgleish said.

All appointments at the orthopedic clinic were cancelled through Friday.

The spate of recent gun violence across the country, including the killing of 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde by an 18-year-old gunman carrying an AR-style semi-automatic rifle, has led to Democratic leaders amplifying their calls for greater restrictions on guns, while Republicans are emphasizing more security at schools.

The divide mirrors a partisan split that has stymied action in the U.S. Congress and many state capitols over how best to respond to a record-high number of gun-related deaths in the U.S.

Home searched southeast of Tulsa

Authorities investigating the Tulsa shooting executed a search warrant at a home in Muskogee, about 70 kilometres southeast of Tulsa, in connection with the investigation, police said.

Dalgleish said it appeared that both weapons had been fired at one point or another during the shooting. “The officers who arrived were hearing shots in the building, and that’s what led them to the second floor.”

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

The length of time it took police officers in Uvalde to engage the gunman during last week’s deadly school shooting in Texas has become a key focus of that investigation. Officers waited over an hour to breach the classroom where the gunman attacked.

Tulsa police Capt. Richard Meulenberg also said multiple people were wounded and that the medical complex was a “catastrophic scene.”

Saint Francis Health System locked down its campus Wednesday afternoon because of the situation at the Natalie Medical Building, which houses outpatient clinics and other medical offices.

‘This is happening here’

“This campus is sacred ground for our community,” said Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum. “For decades, this campus has been a place where heroes come to work every day to save the lives of people in our community.”

“Right now, my thoughts are with the victims,” he said. “If we want to have a policy discussion, that is something to be had in the future, but not tonight.”

Philip Tankersley, 27, was leaving his father’s room at nearby Saint Francis Hospital around 5 p.m., when hospital staff said there was an active shooter in the building across the street, locked the doors and warned them to stay away from the windows.

Tankersley said he and his mother sheltered in his father’s hospital room for more than an hour, trying to learn scraps of information from the TV news and passing nurses. He said they heard “code silver” and “level 1 trauma” announced on the hospital speakers and wondered if they were safe in the room.

“I wasn’t particularly worried because the two people that I need to look out for were in that same room as me,” he said. “But it was definitely a ‘this is happening here’ moment.”



Reference-www.cbc.ca

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