Tulsa shooting: 4 dead at St. Francis Health System medical building in Tulsa, Oklahoma

TULSA, Oklahoma — A gunman carrying a rifle and handgun killed four people inside a medical building in Tulsa on a hospital campus Wednesday, police said, the latest in a string of deadly mass shootings across the country in recent weeks .

Tulsa Deputy Police Chief Eric Dalgleish confirmed the death toll and said the gunman was also dead, apparently from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The spate of recent gun violence across the country, including the killing of 19 children and two teachers at a Texas elementary school eight days ago by an 18-year-old gunman carrying an AR-style semi-automatic rifle, has prompted Democratic leaders to step up their calls for tighter gun restrictions, while Republicans emphasize more school safety.

The rift reflects a partisan division that has hampered action in Congress and many state capitals over how best to respond to a record number of gun-related deaths in the United States

It’s unclear what triggered the deadly attack in Tulsa, Dalgleish said.

“It appears both guns were fired at one location or another at the crime scene,” Dalgleish said. “The arriving officers heard gunshots in the building and that 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 about five minutes later at 5:01 p.m., Dalgleish said.

“I’ve been very pleased with what we know so far about the response from our officers,” Dalgleish said.

The length of time it took police officers in Uvalde, Texas to attack the gunman during last week’s deadly shooting at Robb Elementary School has become a major focus of this investigation. Officers waited over an hour to break through the classroom where the gunman attacked.

Police Captain Richard Meulenberg also said several people were injured and that the medical complex was a “catastrophic scene”. The exact number of wounded was not immediately available.

Police and hospital officials said they were unwilling to identify the dead.

The St. Francis Health System placed its campus on hold Wednesday afternoon over the situation at the Natalie Medical Building. The Natalie building houses an ambulatory surgery center and a breast health center. Dalgleish said the second floor also houses an orthopedic clinic, where officers discovered the shooter and several victims.

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

Bynum added, “Right now, my thoughts are with the victims. If we want to have a political discussion, that’s something we’ll have in the future, but not tonight.”

Philip Tankersley, 27, was leaving his father’s room at nearby Saint Francis Hospital around 5pm when hospital staff said there was an active gunman in the building across the street, locking the doors and warning 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 glean snippets of information from the television news and passing nurses. He said they heard “Code Silver” and “Level 1 Trauma” over the hospital speakers and wondered if they were safe in the room.

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

Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were also at the scene, a spokesman said. A reunion center has been set up at a nearby high school where families can find their loved ones.

Wednesday’s shooting also comes just over two weeks after the shooting at a Buffalo grocery store by a white man accused of killing 10 black people in a racist attack. Several mass shootings occurred across the country last Memorial Day weekend, including at an outdoor festival in Taft, Oklahoma, 45 miles from Tulsa, although individual deaths accounted for most of the gun deaths.

According to The Associated Press/USA TODAY/Northeastern University mass murder database, there have been 12 shootings since January that have killed four or more people. Those shootings left 76 dead, including 31 adults and children in Buffalo and Texas, the database said. The death toll does not include suspects in the shootings.

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

https://abc7.com/tulsa-oklahoma-active-shooter-shooting/11917739/ Tulsa shooting: 4 dead at St. Francis Health System medical building in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Laura Coffey

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