Four people were killed and a gunman took his own life in a mass shooting at an Oklahoma hospital on Wednesday night, cops said.
The shooting took place at an orthopedic office on the second floor of the Natalie Medical Building at St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa at around 5 p.m., Tulsa Deputy Police Chief Eric Dalgleish told reporters at a press conference.
Police had initially responded to a report of a man inside of the building with a rifle and a handgun before it escalated into an active shooter situation, cops said.
They arrived on scene in three minutes and made contact with the shooter immediately.
The shooter, identified only as a man between the age of 35 and 40, appears to have turned one of his guns on himself, according to police. He is not believed to have been wearing any body armor during the shooting.
It’s unclear if the shooting was targeted or random as police investigate the shooter’s motive. Officials said they were not ready to identify the dead.
Cops said “multiple” people were wounded. Tulsa Police Department Capt. Richard Meulenberg told CNN “less than ten” people were injured with non-life-threatening injuries. It’s unclear if they were shot or injured in the panic as people fled the scene, he said.
No officers or responders were injured, cops said.
The victims “could have been hospital employees and visitors,” Dalgleish said. One victim was found later locked in a closet as police searched the building room-by-room,.
According to the chief, the scene was limited to the second floor of the building, part of which included an orthopedic office. Police Capt. Richard Meulenberg described the scene at the medical facility as “catastrophic.”
The Natalie building also houses an outpatient surgery center and a breast health center.
A reunification checkpoint for families has been set up at Memorial High School on the west side of LaFortune Park, cops said.
Police in Muskogee, Oklahoma — about 50 miles southeast of Tulsa — evacuated a home and warned residents to shelter in place as they investigated “ a possible bomb inside a residence” that may be connected to the Tulsa shooting suspect, according to reports.
Tulsa resident Nicholas O’Brien was at the medical complex to visit his mother when he rushed to the scene after learning there was a shooting.
“They were rushing people out. I don’t know if some of them were injured or just have been injured during the shooting, but some of them couldn’t walk very well. But they were just kind of wobbling and stumbling and getting them out of there,” he told The Associated Press.
“I was pretty anxious. So once I got here and then I heard that she (his mother) was OK, the shooter had been shot and was down, I felt a lot better. It still is horrible what happened,” O’Brien said.
The shooting comes just one week after an 18-year-old gunman murdered 19 fourth-graders and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde Texas.
It was not immediately clear how many people were injured or what condition they were in.
Tulsa Mayor G. T. Bynum described the hospital as “sacred grounds for the community,” supporting the city through the COVID-19 pandemic over the last two and a half years.
“This has been a facility more than any other that has worked to save the lives of this city,” Bynum said.
He offered “profound gratitude” to the first responders who “did not hesitate today to respond to this act of violence.”
Tulsa Councilor Jayme Fowler told The Post it’s “surreal” that a mass shooting happened in Tulsa.
“It’s surreal and you never really think that something like this would happen in your community and you just never actually think that it would actually happen here in probably one of the more normal, average cities in America. It’s just kind of the heartbeat of America,” said Fowler, who represents the district where the shooting occurred.
“Our hearts and prayers and thoughts go out to the victims and their families and it’s just a tragic thing.”
Fowler said that the officers from the Tulsa Police Department had participated in hostage situation training just yesterday.
“The police responded very, very quickly,” Fowler said. “They were well prepared and well trained for this situation. It could’ve been worse.”
The shooting comes just one week after an 18-year-old gunman murdered 19 fourth-graders and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
When asked about gun control in response to the Tulsa and Texas shootings, Bynum said, “If we want to have a policy discussion that is something to have in the future. But not tonight.”
Officials said another press conference on the shooting will be held on Thursday.
Dr. Cliff Robertson, CEO of St. Francis Health System, asked for the community’s prayers as it recovers from the tragedy.
“We’re an organization that believes in the power of prayer and there is nothing more this community can do for us than to pray for the families and the loved ones and the victims of this senseless act,” he told reporters, before thanking first responders.
The hospital confirmed to Fox 23 that they are not closed and the emergency room remains open if anyone is in need of medical attention. The entire medical campus was put on lockdown after initial reports of shots fired.
President Joe Biden has been made briefed on the Tulsa shooting and has offered support to state and local officials, The White House said.
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt called Wednesday’s shooting “a senseless act of violence and hatred,” and offered “any state resources that may be needed.”
“I ask all Oklahomans to come together in support of the Saint Francis Health System community and to grieve with those whose lives have been forever changed,” he said in a statement.
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