Gunman kills 4, takes own life at Oklahoma hospital

by mcardinal

Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News


On Wednesday, an as-yet-unidentified man opened fire with a rifle and handgun at a not-for-profit, Christian hospital in Tulsa.

According to police statements, the perpetrator, who is believed to be in his late 30s or early 40s, entered the Natalie medical building at St. Francis Hospital and killed four people before turning a firearm on himself, it is believed, as police arrived.

Tulsa Police Chief Eric Dalgleish said officers were on the scene within three minutes of receiving the call and had made contact with the shooter within five, a response time Dalgleish and other officials said saved lives.

“I will say Tulsa revisits that topic regularly,” Dalgleish said. “I was very happy with what we know so far regarding the response of our officers.”

When asked by reporters present for a briefing if the events in Uvalde, Texas, where officers took at least an hour to enter an elementary school to stop a mass shooter, played a factor in response time the police chief replied, “I think that’s probably fresh on everyone’s minds.”

As of this writing, details of the shooting or shooter remain scant, but it is known that the man opened fire on the second floor of the Natalie building.

While the victims have yet to be identified, Tulsa Police Capt. Richard Meulenberg told the New York Times that the act wasn’t random.

“This wasn’t an individual who just decided he wanted to go find a hospital full of random people. He deliberately made a choice to come here and his actions were deliberate,” Meulenberg said.

Late Wednesday, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum posted the video of a final briefing on Facebook and began the process of attempting to heal a shaken community. Like Dalgleish, Bynum stressed the speed of response from emergency workers.

“A great tragedy occurred tonight on sacred ground in our city,” Bynum wrote. “Please think of ways you can show all the health care heroes of Saint Francis Health System how our community loves and supports them. Every day for decades they have been there to save lives. We will be there for them in the difficult days ahead.

“I want to thank the first responders from a broad range of agencies – local, federal, state, and tribal – who all came to the scene immediately today with no hesitation.”

Gov. Kevin Stitt tweeted that his office was aware of what had happened and offered state assistance.

“What happened today in Tulsa is a senseless act of violence and hatred,” Stitt said on Twitter. “Sarah and I are praying for the families of those who lost their lives and for those who were injured.

“I am grateful for the quick and brave actions of the Tulsa Police Department and other first responders who did their best to contain a terrible situation.”

Stitt added in a third tweet, “I have offered Mayor G.T. Bynum any state resources that may be needed, and 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.”

St. Francis Hospital is the anchor of the larger St. Francis Health System, which provides medical services at numerous locations around Tulsa. According to the St. Francis website, the organization is the largest private employer in Tulsa