Four people were killed in a shooting Wednesday night at a medical building on the campus of a hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma, police said. The shooter also died, of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said.
Tulsa Police Department Capt. Richard Meulenberg told CNN that multiple people were injured — he said it was less than ten and no one had injuries that were considered life-threatening. He told The Associated Press that the medical complex was a “catastrophic scene”.
The identities of the victim and shooter have not been released.
The shooter’s motive was not immediately known.
The shooting happened shortly before 5 p.m. local time on the campus of Saint Francis Hospital, Tulsa Deputy Police Chief Eric Dalgleish told reporters. Officers responded to the scene within three minutes and made contact with the shooter about five minutes later, he said.
“I was very pleased with what we know so far regarding our officers’ response,” Dalgleish noted.
Tulsa Mayor GT Bynum said he wanted to “express our community’s deep appreciation for the wide range of first responders who didn’t hesitate.”
The time it took for police in Uvalde, Texas to engage the shooter duringbecame a key and controversial part of this investigation. Officers waited over an hour to enter the classroom where the shooter attacked.
There have been a dozen shootings in the United States this year in which four or more people were killed, according to an Associated Press/USA Today/Northeastern University database.
Dalgleish described the shooter as a black male between the ages of 35 and 40 and said he was armed with a long gun and a handgun.
Officers met the suspect on the second floor of the hospital’s Natalie Building, Dalgleish said.
“Officers who arrived heard gunshots in the building, and that’s what directed them to the second floor,” he said.
Both guns appeared to have been fired, Dalgleish revealed.
He said it was not immediately clear if the shooter had targeted anyone in particular or if the shot was random.
Police then received reports that the shooter left a bomb at a residence in Muskogee, Oklahoma, Muskogee police said Wednesday night. The home was searched by a bomb squad and no explosives were found, CBS Tulsa affiliate KOTV reported, citing Muskogee police.
Surrounding homes were evacuated or residents were told to shelter in place.
Muskogee is located approximately 50 miles southeast of Tulsa.
Tulsa police have asked family and friends of victims and survivors to come to Memorial High School, one block from the hospital campus, to wait to hear the fate of people at the scene of the shooting, KOTV said.
Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt released a statement calling the shooting a “senseless act of violence and hatred”, adding: “Sarah and I pray for the families of those who lost their lives and for those who have been hurt”.
The White House said President Biden had been briefed, adding that the situation was being closely monitored and the White House had contacted state and local authorities to offer support..
Jan Hodges, who works on the hospital campus, said she was in another building about 100 yards from the shooting location.
She told KOTV, “I just knew something awful was going on. I mean, police officers running into a building with shields and guns and I thought, ‘I saw that. several times to the news in other areas.’ It was almost like it was a repeat of something I had seen before I really couldn’t believe this was happening in my part of the country and I’m sick because I know people who work in the ‘building Natalie and I fear for them and know nothing of their well-being at this point.”
Hodges said she was locked up for just under two hours.
Another employee wondered out loud, “What’s going on in the world these days?”
A witness observed: “I mean, it’s a doctor’s surgery, you can’t go anywhere anymore without something happening. I’m just crazy.”
Kevin Forrestal, whose wife was in the building for an intervention, told CBS News: “As vast as this complex is, the first thought is, ‘Is this where she is? Is this somewhere else?’ But luckily she was safe.”