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Four People Killed in Shooting at Tulsa Medical Center

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People gathered at a reunification center set up at Tulsa’s Memorial High School on Wednesday after a mass shooting at a medical building.Credit…Joseph Rushmore for The New York TimesA man carrying a rifle and a handgun opened fire in a medical office building in Tulsa, Okla., on Wednesday afternoon, killing four people and injuring several others before apparently taking his own life in the latest mass shooting to shock the country, the authorities said.

In an interview late Wednesday night, Capt. Richard Meulenberg of the Tulsa Police Department said 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 said. “He deliberately made a choice to come here and his actions were deliberate.” Captain Meulenberg declined to say any more about the gunman’s motive.

The police did not reveal the identity of the gunman, but at an earlier news conference, Deputy Chief Eric Dalgleish said that he was between 35 and 40 years old.

The police received a call about a shooting at 4:52 p.m., and they arrived at the scene four minutes later, Chief Dalgleish said. All of the gunfire is believed to have taken place in one section of the second floor of the Natalie Medical Building on the campus of Saint Francis Hospital, he said. The sound of gunfire drew officers to that area.

“There is an orthopedic center, an orthopedic office, there, but I’m unaware if that occupies the whole floor, or if there are other offices on the floor,” he said, adding that it was “at least part of the scene.”

As police officers arrived at the second-floor entryway, the gunfire stopped, Captain Meulenberg said in a telephone interview. Officers entered and immediately found a victim, and as they continued their search, they found the body of the gunman, who had apparently shot himself with a pistol, he said.

Chief Dalgleish said that the victims could have been a combination of workers and patients. None of the wounded had life-threatening injuries, the police said, and no officers were injured in the attack, during which the gunman fired both his weapons.

Captain Meulenberg said that the number of people wounded from being shot seemed to be “very low” but that there were other injuries tied to hundreds of people fleeing the building at the time of the attack. “Imagine a scene of mass chaos,” he said. “You can hear gunfire echoing.”

The Muskogee Police Department said that it was alerted by the Tulsa Police Department that the gunman might have left a bomb at a residence in Muskogee, about 50 miles southeast of Tulsa. Muskogee police evacuated the home and notified those in the area to stay inside, the department said.

A bomb squad was on its way to the residence late Wednesday, and the Muskogee police were working to obtain a search warrant to search the home.

Mayor G.T. Bynum of Tulsa said at the news conference that some of the families of the victims had not yet been informed about what had happened.

“This has been the facility more than any other that has worked to save the lives of people in this city,” Mr. Bynum said. He praised “the broad range of first responders today who did not hesitate to respond to this act of violence.”

The White House said that President Biden had been briefed on the shooting, which came just eight days after 19 students and two teachers were killed in a mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, and 18 days after 10 people were killed by a gunman at a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y.

When asked about his response to Tulsa’s joining the list of American cities that have experienced mass shootings over the past few weeks, Mr. Bynum said that his “thoughts are with the victims in here, many of whose families don’t even know about this yet.”

“If we want to have a policy discussion, that is something to be had in the future, but not tonight, not tonight,” Mr. Bynum said.

Cliff Robertson, the chief executive of Saint Francis Hospital, said, “There will be a very bumpy road, I think, ahead of us.”

“But there are over 10,000 people that are part of the Saint Francis health system that every day commit their lives to taking care of people in need, taking care of everyone in need, and this senseless, horrible, incomprehensible act is not going to change that,” Mr. Robertson said.

Gov. Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma said in a statement on Wednesday night that the shooting today in Tulsa was “a senseless act of violence and hatred.”

Before the news conference, Captain Meulenberg said that the gunfire had ceased and that the authorities were searching the building “floor by floor, room by room.”

“It’s a catastrophic scene in there right now,” Captain Meulenberg told reporters outside the hospital.

Chief Wendell Franklin of the Tulsa Police said on Twitter that the police had responded to an “active shooter incident” near East 61st Street and South Yale Avenue in Tulsa and next to Saint Francis Hospital.

“Please stay away from the area and yield to all emergency vehicles as we deal with this response,” Chief Franklin said.

The Tulsa Police Department said on Twitter that it had set up a reunification site for families at Memorial High School.

Jason Bailey contributed reporting, and Jack Begg and Sheelagh McNeill contributed research.

June 2, 2022, 1:18 a.m. ET

June 2, 2022, 1:18 a.m. ET

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Law enforcement and people outside a reunification center set up at Tulsa’s Memorial High School on Wednesday after a mass shooting at a medical building.Credit…Joseph Rushmore for The New York Times[Go here for updates on the Tulsa medical center shooting.]

Gannon Gill was wrapping up an appointment with a new patient on Wednesday when a loud noise startled him. A few seconds later, he heard it again.

Mr. Gill, a physician assistant and a hunter, recognized those sounds as gunfire.

“There was an initial ‘What was that?’” said Mr. Gill, who runs an orthopedic urgent care clinic at the facility in Tulsa, Okla., that was the site of a deadly shooting on Wednesday. He turned to his patient and said: “Let’s go. I don’t think this is good.”

He would later learn that some of his colleagues hid in bathrooms or storage closets. He guided his patient through the “labyrinth” of exam rooms and interlocking hallways, away from the sound of the gunfire. They ran into a small group of colleagues, who joined them.

Mr. Gill crouched, moving quickly toward the closest exit. He and the group made it through the front door of the office and hustled to the parking garage. They were out in less than a minute.

Once in the garage, he discovered his phone in his pocket and called his wife. “Don’t freak out, I’m alive,” he recalled telling her. He asked her to bring his car keys, which he realized he had left behind.

It became clear to Mr. Gill the area was safe and he stayed in the garage with his colleagues, where they called others they couldn’t account for.

One man in the garage, a patient, told Mr. Gill that he and his wife had encountered the gunman during the attack.

“The shooter told him and his wife to leave and he was not there for him,” Mr. Gill said.

During a phone interview, Mr. Gill said he had a hard time remembering some details about a “pretty scary” day.

“You see this stuff on television or the news,” he said, “but you don’t think it’s ever going to happen in your workplace.”

June 1, 2022, 11:24 p.m. ET

June 1, 2022, 11:24 p.m. ET

Jesus Jimenez

Chief Wendell Franklin of the Tulsa Police Department said that authorities will hold a news conference on Thursday at 10:15 a.m. Central time.

June 1, 2022, 10:49 p.m. ET

June 1, 2022, 10:49 p.m. ET

Alex Traub

Police heard gunfire and rushed to the second floor, Captain Richard Meulenberg said. The gunfire stopped by the time they reached the door. The officers found the gunman, who had apparently shot himself with a pistol. They found the other victims while clearing the scene.

June 1, 2022, 10:45 p.m. ET

June 1, 2022, 10:45 p.m. ET

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The Natalie Medical Building on the campus of St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa, Okla., on Wednesday.Credit…Nick Oxford for The New York TimesThe Natalie Medical Building, where a gunman opened fire on the second floor, is part of the sprawling campus of the Saint Francis Hospital in southeast Tulsa.

The medical building is home to an ambulatory surgery center and a center for breast cancer surgery, according to the hospital’s website.

The Natalie Building, on South Yale Avenue, is connected to Saint Francis Hospital, a 1,112-bed tertiary center, by a covered skyway.

Saint Francis Hospital is one of the largest hospitals in the country, ranked 14th by the number of hospital beds, according to an annual industry list.

Cliff Robertson, the chief executive of Saint Francis Hospital, said at a news conference on Wednesday that more than 10,000 people work for the Saint Francis health system.

June 1, 2022, 10:39 p.m. ET

June 1, 2022, 10:39 p.m. ET

Alex Traub

“It wasn’t random,” said Captain Richard Meulenberg. “This wasn’t an indiviudual 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.”He declined to give any more details about the gunman’s motive.

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Credit…Nick Oxford for The New York Times

June 1, 2022, 10:37 p.m. ET

June 1, 2022, 10:37 p.m. ET

Alex Traub

None of the victims have have life-threatening injuries, said Captain Richard Meulenberg of the Tulsa Police Department. He said the number of people with gunshot wounds seems “very low.” Some of the injuries may be tied to the hundreds of people fleeing the building, he said.

June 1, 2022, 9:24 p.m. ET

June 1, 2022, 9:24 p.m. ET

Jesus Jimenez

The Muskogee Police Department said that it was alerted by the Tulsa Police Department that the gunman may have left a bomb at a residence in Muskogee, about 50 miles southeast of Tulsa. A bomb squad was on its way to the home, and the Muskogee police were working to obtain a search warrant to search the home.

June 1, 2022, 9:16 p.m. ET

June 1, 2022, 9:16 p.m. ET

Jesus Jimenez

Gov. Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma said that the shooting today in Tulsa was “a senseless act of violence and hatred.”

June 1, 2022, 8:52 p.m. ET

June 1, 2022, 8:52 p.m. ET

Sean Plambeck

Deputy Chief Eric Dalgleish of the Tulsa Police said that active shooting protocols were “probably fresh on everyone’s minds” after criticism of the police response to last week’s shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. “I will say Tulsa revisits that topic regularly.”

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Credit…Michael Noble Jr./Reuters

June 1, 2022, 8:46 p.m. ET

June 1, 2022, 8:46 p.m. ET

Jesus Jimenez

Cliff Robertson, the chief executive of Saint Francis Hospital, said “there will be a very bumpy road, I think, ahead of us.”

June 1, 2022, 8:42 p.m. ET

June 1, 2022, 8:42 p.m. ET

Sean Plambeck

Mayor G.T. Bynum, a Republican, was asked for his response to Tulsa joining the list of American cities that have experienced mass shootings. “Right now my thoughts are with the victims in here, many of whose families don’t know even know about this yet,” he said, referring to the medical facility. “If we want to have a policy discussion, that is something to be had in the future, but not tonight, not tonight.”

June 1, 2022, 8:27 p.m. ET

June 1, 2022, 8:27 p.m. ET

Alex Traub

The authorities believe that all the gunfire occurred around the same area on the building’s second floor, the police spokesman said.

June 1, 2022, 8:24 p.m. ET

June 1, 2022, 8:24 p.m. ET

Alex Traub

The police spokesman said both weapons had been fired at the scene. He said the authorities had not yet determined if the gunman was targeting someone in particular.

June 1, 2022, 8:23 p.m. ET

June 1, 2022, 8:23 p.m. ET

Alex Traub

Mayor Bynum said that some families of the victims had not yet been informed about what has happened. A police spokesman said the victims may have been a combination of employees and patients.

June 1, 2022, 8:22 p.m. ET

June 1, 2022, 8:22 p.m. ET

Alex Traub

“This has been the facility more than any other that has worked to save the lives of people in this city,” Tulsa’s mayor G.T. Bynum said. He praised “the broad range of first responders today who did not hesitate to respond to this act of violence.”

Image

Credit…Michael Noble Jr./Reuters

June 1, 2022, 8:20 p.m. ET

June 1, 2022, 8:20 p.m. ET

Alex Traub

A police spokesman said the authorities had not yet determined the identity of the gunman but added that he was a Black male between 35 and 40 years old.

June 1, 2022, 8:20 p.m. ET

June 1, 2022, 8:20 p.m. ET

Sean Plambeck

The police said the gunman was believed to have killed himself.

June 1, 2022, 8:20 p.m. ET

June 1, 2022, 8:20 p.m. ET

Alex Traub

A police spokesman said that the authorities received a call about the shooting at 4:52 p.m. and arrived at the scene at 4:56. Officers heard shots and followed the sounds to the building’s second floor. They encountered the victims and the suspect at 5:01. The spokesman said four civilians had died and the gunman had also died.

June 1, 2022, 8:19 p.m. ET

June 1, 2022, 8:19 p.m. ET

Jesus Jimenez

The gunman had two weapons, a long gun and a handgun, the police officer said.

June 1, 2022, 8:18 p.m. ET

June 1, 2022, 8:18 p.m. ET

Jesus Jimenez

A Tulsa police officer said five people had been killed, including the gunman.

June 1, 2022, 8:16 p.m. ET

June 1, 2022, 8:16 p.m. ET

Chris Cameron

President Biden has been briefed on the shooting in Tulsa, the White House said. “The White House is closely monitoring the situation and has reached out to state and local officials to offer support,” a statement said.

May 24, 2022, 10:34 p.m. ET

May 24, 2022, 10:34 p.m. ET

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Police and F.B.I. agents during the investigation of the shooting at Tops Market on May 16, 2022 in Buffalo.Credit…Scott Olson/Getty ImagesThe F.B.I. released alarming data showing a rapidly escalating pattern of public shootings in the United States last week, one day before the massacre in Uvalde, Texas.

The bureau identified 61 “active shooter” attacks in 2021 that killed 103 people and injured 130 others. That was the highest annual total since 2017 when 143 people were killed, and hundreds more were wounded, numbers inflated by the sniper attack on the Las Vegas Strip in October of that year.

The 2021 total represented a 52 percent increase from the tally of such shootings in 2020, and a 97 percent increase from 2017, according to the F.B.I.’s Active Shooter Incidents in the United States in 2021 report.

The report classifies an “active” shooting incident as one in which “one or more individuals actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area.”

The Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit organization that tracks shootings around the country, defines a “mass shooting” as an incident in which four or more people are shot or killed, without differentiating between people who attack strangers or people they know, or the setting of the crime.

The archive has counted at least 215 such shootings through mid-May. Of those shootings, 10 involved four or more fatalities. The group recorded 693 mass shootings last year, with 28 involving four or more fatalities.

The deadliest mass shooting last year occurred at a grocery store in Boulder, Colo., where 10 people were killed, according to the F.B.I.

The shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, has already surpassed that, with at least 18 reported dead; Earlier last month, a white supremacist stalked and killed 10 people in a supermarket in Buffalo.

The F.B.I. report identified one particularly chilling trend among active shooters: Officials have noticed an increase in the number who moved from place to place in search of victims, a group the bureau refers to as “roving” shooters.

More than two dozen shootings in 2021, including eight murders at an Atlanta spa, fit that category.

Among the report’s other main findings:

All but one of the 61 active shootings last year were carried out by men, ranging in age from 12 to 67; two wore body armor; 30 shooters were apprehended by law enforcement, 14 shooters were killed by law enforcement, four were killed by armed citizens, 11 shooters committed suicide, and one remains at large.

The report is part of a series of FBI active shooter-related “products” first published in 2014, intended to provide insight for first responders, policymakers and law enforcement officers.

The guns used in mass shootings are usually, for the most part, purchased legally — although many are later illegally modified to increase their firing rates and bullet capacities.

From 1966 to 2019, 77 percent of mass shooters obtained the weapons they used in their crimes through legal purchases, according to a comprehensive survey of law enforcement data, academic papers and news accounts compiled by the National Institute of Justice, the research wing of the Justice Department, and released earlier this year.

May 24, 2022, 7:27 p.m. ET

May 24, 2022, 7:27 p.m. ET

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Sacramento, Calif., police officers interviewed people at a park in the city’s Del Paso Heights neighborhood October 2020, after a 9-year-old girl was killed and three other people injured in a drive-by shooting.Credit…Xavier Mascareñas/The Sacramento Bee, via Associated PressThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last month that gun deaths in the United States reached the highest number recorded in 2020, the first year of the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 45,000 Americans died in gun-related incidents that year, half of which were suicides. The gun homicide rate was the highest reported since 1994.

The rise in gun violence has afflicted cities large and small, in both blue and red states, leaving law enforcement scrambling for answers. Federal officials and outside experts were not certain what caused the surge in gun deaths.

“One possible explanation is stressors associated with the Covid pandemic that could have played a role, including changes and disruption to services and education, social isolation, housing instability and difficulty covering daily expenses,” said Thomas R. Simon, associate director for science at the C.D.C.’s division of violence prevention.

The rise also corresponded to accelerated sales of firearms as the pandemic spread and lockdowns became the norm, the C.D.C. analysis noted. Americans went on a gun-buying spree in 2020 that continued into 2021, when in a single week the F.B.I. reported a record 1.2 million background checks.

But gun homicide has many roots. Federal researchers also cited disruptions in routine health care; protests over police use of lethal force; a rise in domestic violence; inequitable access to health care; and longstanding systemic racism that has contributed to poor housing conditions, limited educational opportunities and high poverty rates.

May 17, 2022, 6:03 p.m. ET

May 17, 2022, 6:03 p.m. ET

The New York Times

How We Cover Mass Shootings

Marc LaceyAssistant Managing EditorHow We Cover Mass Shootings

Marc LaceyAssistant Managing EditorWhen we identify a suspect in a mass shooting:

The Times publishes a suspect’s name when it is confirmed by authorities. But we do not want to give the person excessive prominence. Studies show that those who commit mass shootings thoroughly research past shootings — some call it the Columbine Effect.

How We Cover Mass Shootings

Marc LaceyAssistant Managing EditorWhen we do publish photos:

These young men become obsessed with looking at the coverage and images of previous gunmen and want to seek similar, in their minds, glory by committing their own heinous acts.

The Times avoids images in which the gunman is brandishing weapons because that sort of imagery is typically what a mass shooter wants for public consumption — and often leaves on social media feeds for that purpose.

How We Cover Mass Shootings

Marc LaceyAssistant Managing EditorOn a suspect’s manifesto:

There is a balancing act in informing readers without glorifying awful acts in any way.

So we will identify the suspect and explain any ideology that might have had influence, but we do not publish any manifestoes that contain twisted rationales for carrying out an attack.

How We Cover Mass Shootings

Marc LaceyAssistant Managing EditorWhen we publish names of victims:

The authorities are very careful about notifying next of kin before releasing names, and we don’t want anyone to find out while reading The New York Times that their loved one died in a mass shooting.

How We Cover Mass Shootings

Marc LaceyAssistant Managing EditorHow do you make sure the information you’re providing about the suspect is accurate?

Our reporters try to find out as much as they can about a suspect and approach anyone who might have crossed paths with the person.

There is reason for care: Just because the next-door neighbor says the person was quiet and seemed nice does not mean that the person was quiet and nice. We supplement interviews with a thorough examination of public records.

How We Cover Mass Shootings

Marc LaceyAssistant Managing EditorWhat are the areas of special sensitivity when dealing with victims’ families?

We want to give readers a sense of the human tragedy, so calling the loved ones of those who died in such circumstances is necessary.

Making that phone call is never pleasant, but relatives are often eager to talk and give the public a sense of who that person was. On the other hand, we understand that they are also grieving and may not want to talk.

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