Updated Jun 2, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Police say Tulsa shooting suspect targeted doctor he blamed for back pain

Police respond to the scene of a mass shooting at St. Francis Hospital on June 1, 2022 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Police respond to the scene of a mass shooting at St. Francis Hospital's Natalie Medical Building in Tulsa, Okla., on Wednesday. Photo: J Pat Carter/Getty Images

A gunman opened fire inside a Tulsa, Oklahoma, medical building with a handgun and a rifle, killing at least four people, including a doctor who had recently performed his back surgery, before apparently taking his own life on Wednesday, law enforcement officials said.

The latest: Authorities said during a press conference Thursday that the suspect specifically targeted Dr. Preston Phillip and noted he had repeatedly called the hospital complaining of pain.

  • “We also have a letter on the suspect, which made it clear that he came in with the intent to kill Dr. Phillips and anyone who got in his way,” said Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin, per the Associated Press. “He blamed Dr. Phillips for the ongoing pain following the surgery.”

Details: Tulsa Police Capt. Richard Meulenberg told reporters Wednesday evening that as many as 10 people had been wounded in the shooting at St. Francis Hospital's Natalie Medical Building that happened just before 5 p.m., but none had life-threatening injuries.

  • Law enforcement also said the gunman purchased the AR-15-style rifle hours before the shooting.

Police said that they believe most of the shooting took place on the second floor of the Natalie Medical Building on the campus of St. Francis Hospital.

  • The building houses an outpatient surgery center and a breast health center.

The big picture: It is the latest shooting following the Uvalde elementary school massacre last week, which left 19 children and two adults dead, and the attack at a Buffalo supermarket in May that killed 10 people.

  • The incident in Tulsa was the 233rd mass shooting in the U.S. this year, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive — which characterizes a mass shooting as four or more people shot or killed, not including the shooter.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with new details throughout.


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