Police say four killed in Oklahoma in new US gun rampage

Authorities identify gunman, saying he was targeting doctor he blamed for back pain he felt after surgery.

Police cars with Tulsa Police written on the vehicles queued up outside the Tulsa medical facility where a gunman killed four people
After shooting in Tulsa, Oklahoma, President Joe Biden will deliver speech on need to address 'epidemic of gun violence' [Michael Noble Jr/Reuters]

A man armed with a rifle and handgun opened fire inside a medical building in Oklahoma on Wednesday, killing four people, police said, the latest of a series of mass shootings in the United States.

The gunman also died, apparently of a self-inflicted wound, Tulsa’s deputy police chief Eric Dalgleish told reporters outside the St Francis Hospital.

On Thursday, authorities identified the shooter as 45-year-old Michael Louis, saying that he was targeting a doctor he blamed for back pain he felt after a surgery.

Preston Phillips, 59, the surgeon who treated Louis, was killed along with Stephanie Husen, a 48-year-old sports medicine specialist. The two other victims were Amanda Green and William Love, according to authorities.

“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,” Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin. “He blamed Dr Phillips for the ongoing pain following the surgery.”

Dr Cliff Robertson, president and CEO of Saint Francis Health System, called Phillips “the consummate gentleman” and “a man that we should all strive to emulate”. He said the three employees who were killed were “the three best people in the entire world” and that they “didn’t deserve to die this way”.

The shooting came eight days after an 18-year-old man armed with an automatic rifle burst into Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, and killed 19 children and two teachers before being fatally shot himself and just more than two weeks after a shooting at a Buffalo supermarket by a white man who is accused of killing 10 Black people in a racist attack.

The site of the St Francis Hospital was sealed off on Wednesday afternoon when police learned of the attack at the Natalie Medical Building, which houses an outpatient surgery centre and a breast health centre.

Tulsa resident Nicholas O’Brien, whose mother was in a nearby building when the shooting occurred, told reporters that he rushed to the scene.

“They were rushing people out. I don’t know if some of them were injured or just have been injured during the shooting, but some of them couldn’t walk very well. But they were just kind of wobbling and stumbling and getting them out of there,” he said.

“I was pretty anxious. So once I got here and then I heard that she [his mother] was OK, the shooter had been shot and was down, I felt a lot better. It still is horrible what happened,” O’Brien said.

US President Joe Biden has been briefed on the Tulsa shooting, the White House said in a statement, adding that the administration had offered support to local officials.

Later on Thursday, Biden will deliver a speech “on the recent tragic mass shootings, and the need for Congress to act to pass commonsense laws to combat the epidemic of gun violence that is taking lives every day,” the White House said.

Despite the recent mass shootings, gun regulation faces deep resistance in the United States, from most Republicans and some rural-state Democrats.

Biden, who visited Uvalde over the weekend, promised earlier this week to “continue to push” for reform, saying, “I think things have gotten so bad that everybody is getting more rational about it.”

Some key federal lawmakers have also voiced cautious optimism and a bipartisan group of senators worked through the weekend to pursue possible areas of compromise.

They reportedly were focusing on laws to raise the age for gun purchases or to allow police to remove guns from people considered a threat to themselves or others – but not an outright ban on high-powered rifles like the weapons used in both Uvalde and Buffalo.

Source: News Agencies