A man armed with a rifle and a handgun killed four people inside a medical building in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Wednesday, in the latest of a series of mass shootings to rattle the United States. Tulsa police indicated that the shooter was dead, without specifying the causes.
Police arrived at the Natalie Medical Building, on the campus of Saint Francis Hospital, three minutes after receiving a call about the shooting on Wednesday afternoon. Officers then followed the sound of gunfire up to the building’s second floor, Tulsa Deputy Chief Eric Dalgleish told reporters.
The Natalie Building contains doctors’ offices including an orthopedic center, Dalgleish said, adding he believed the victims included employees and patients.
Captain Richard Meulenberg of the Tulsa Police Department described the area as a “catastrophic scene.” The exact number of wounded was not provided. Police in Tulsa said they were trying to determine the suspect’s identity, who they estimated was between 35 and 40 years old, and had no details yet on his motive.
Meulenberg told The New York Times that the attack was not 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.”
Tulsa’s police chief had tweeted that police were responding to an “active shooter” situation.
@TulsaPolice has responded to an active shooter incident near 61st & Yale. Please stay away from the area and yield to all emergency vehicles as we deal with this response. We will update the media as soon as we are able to gather details.— Tulsa Police Department Chief Franklin (@TPD_Franklin) June 1, 2022
Police responses have come under increased scrutiny after a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers in a Texas school last week while officers waited outside for nearly an hour.
Asked by reporters whether police had refreshed training or thinking about active shooters after the Uvalde, Texas school shooting, Deputy Chief Dalgleish said: “I think that’s probably fresh on everyone’s minds.”
Wednesday’s incident in Tulsa came on the heels of mass shootings that have re-ignited debates about gun control. Two weeks before the Uvalde shooting, a white gunman killed 10 people at a supermarket in a Black neighborhood in Buffalo, New York.
Tulsa, a city with a population of around 411,000, is located 100 miles (160 km) northeast of the capital Oklahoma City.