Police said the mass shooter who opened fire at a hospital building in Tulsa, Okla., on Wednesday afternoon killed four people before committing suicide, in an incident that lasted about five minutes.
Eric Dalgleish, the deputy chief of the Tulsa Police Department, said at a news briefing Wednesday evening that police were alerted to an active shooter armed with a rifle inside the upper floor of the Natalie Building at St. Francis Hospital around 4:52 p.m.
Officers arrived within four minutes and heard shots from the second floor, where they found four victims dead from gunshot wounds. Police identified a fifth body as the gunman, who they believe killed himself.
The whole incident lasted about four or five minutes, according to Dalgleish, who said the victims are likely a combination of visitors and employees.
The suspected gunman, a Black male around the age of 40, carried a rifle and a handgun into the hospital building, according to Dalgleish. He fired both of the weapons during the shooting, which took place in part at an Orthopedic center on the upper floor of the building.
The incident quickly drew the attention of President Biden, with the White House on Wednesday evening saying he was “closely monitoring the situation” and had “reached out to state and local officials to offer support.”
Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum (R) said during the news briefing the campus at St. Francis Hospital was “sacred ground for our community” where “heroes have come to work to save the lives of people in our community.”
“I know there are so many people out there right now who want to know what you can do to support the people of St. Francis health system in the midst of this tragedy,” he said. “I don’t have one thing for you right now. I would ask for you to think about what the St. Francis health system and what the people that work there mean to our community, and what they mean to you and your family and your neighbors.”
The mass shooting comes about a week after a gunman opened fire at a Texas elementary school, killing 19 children and two adults in one of the deadliest school shootings in the nation’s history.
The police response to the Texas tragedy was criticized after it was revealed that officers entered the classroom he shot up an hour after the rampage began.
Bynum thanked the police and first responders, who he said “did not hesitate” to respond to the shooting, acting quickly and even navigated a crowded and difficult hospital parking lot to get to the shooter.
“I was very happy with what we know so far regarding the response from our officers,” he said. “The citizens of Tulsa should be proud.”