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UPDATE: Tulsa Police confirmed on Thursday that two doctors were killed in the shooting: Dr. Preston J. Phillips and Dr. Stephanie Husen, receptionist supervisor Amanda Glenn and William Love were killed. The shooter also took his own life, police say.
A south Tulsa hospital descended into chaos Wednesday evening after hundreds of Tulsa police officers responded to a mass shooting in which five people died, including the shooter, who police say was a “Black male estimated to be 35 to 40 years old” who killed himself after the shooting.
Around 4:56 p.m., officers arrived at the Natalie Medical Building on the Saint Francis hospital minutes after receiving a call that there was an active shooter, police told reporters. According to Tulsa Deputy Police Chief Eric Dalgleish, the shooter was armed with a rifle and a handgun, though his identity hasn’t been identified. Officers did, however, say that he is a “Black male.” Notably, it is legal to open carry a rifle in Oklahoma up until the moment someone uses it to kill.
Preston J. Phillips, MD is one of the few Black doctors in Tulsa compared to the number of White doctors, in a city that orchestrated a massacre against Black residents of Greenwood and the destruction of Tulsa’s only Black hospital in 1921. Since the shooter is also Black, many have questioned why The Black Wall Street Times mentioned his race. Considering the widespread racial disparities in Tulsa, in Oklahoma, and in the nation, the loss of even one Black doctor is felt keenly in the Black community.
Tulsa Police have released the identities of the deceased: Dr. Preston J. Phillips, Dr. Stephanie Husen, receptionist supervisor Amanda Glenn and William Love were killed. The shooter shot and killed himself following the attack.
According to Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin, who spoke with CBS News, the gunman had recently undergone back surgery and called the clinic repeatedly complaining of the pain. Dr. Preston performed the surgery.
“We have also found 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,” Franklin said. “He blamed Dr. Phillips for the ongoing pain following the surgery.”
According to City Councilor Jayme Fowler, who represents the district in which Saint Francis resides, the shooter entered the hospital and allegedly told multiple people to clear the area and that he was looking for a Dr. Philips.
“The shooter could not find this physician, and that elicited you know, his behavior at the shootings,” Fowler told CNN.
TULSA (@CNN) — Tulsa City Council Member Jamye Fowler said a gunman was looking for a specific physician when he entered the St. Francis Hospital campus and began shooting.
“The shooter could not find this physician, and that elicited you know, his behavior at the shootings.”
— Mike Valerio (@ValerioCNN) June 2, 2022
Elected officials release statements
Meanwhile, police roughly 50 miles away in Muskogee, Oklahoma say a bomb threat at a home there is connected to the Tulsa mass shooting at Saint Francis.
According to 2 News Oklahoma:
The Muskogee Police Department says they got a tip from Tulsa police about the possible bomb on Park Place North near Country Club. Investigators did not find an explosive device but the home is still a subject of the investigation.
Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum arrived on the scene of the shooting in Tulsa Wednesday evening and asked for the community to pray for and support the victims, their families, and hospital staff, calling the hospital workers “heroes.”
Oklahoma Republican Governor Kevin Stitt, who signed a bill in 2019 that allowed for residents to buy a gun without a permit, also released a statement on Wednesday.
“What happened today in Tulsa is a senseless act of violence and hatred. Sarah and I are praying for the families of those who lost their lives and for those who were injured. I am grateful for the quick and brave actions of the Tulsa Police Department and other first responders who did their best to contain a terrible situation. I have offered Mayor G.T. Bynum any state resources that may be needed, and I ask all Oklahomans to come together in support of the Saint Francis Health System community and to grieve with those whose lives have been forever changed.”
Assault-style weapon purchased on same day of shooting
Oklahoma clearly has some of the most relaxed gun laws in the nation. The assault-style weapon found on the scene was purchased the same day of the shooting, three federal sources briefed on the situation told CNN. The handgun was purchased on May 29. Both the rifle and the handgun were classified as semiautomatic weapons.
“It was just madness inside, with hundreds of rooms and hundreds of people trying to get out of the building,” Tulsa police Capt. Richard Meulenberg told CNN.
On the federal level, President Biden has recently tried to combat gun violence by targeting the purchases and sales of ghost guns, unserialized and untraceable firearms that can be bought online and assembled at home. It’s unclear, however, if any current federal law or executive order would’ve prevented this latest mass shooting.
The White House released a statement on Wednesday:
“President Biden has been briefed on the shooting in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The White House is closely monitoring the situation and has reached out to state and local officials to offer support.”
The mass shooting at Tulsa’s Saint Francis medical complex comes amidst over a dozen mass shootings around the country since a gunman killed 19 children and several adults at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on May 24, just one week ago.
Saint Francis released a statement Wednesday evening asking for prayers:
Saint Francis Health System is grieving the loss of four members of our family. As a faith based organization, the only recourse we have at this moment is to pray while we navigate this tragedy.
Out of respect for the families, we are not commenting on or releasing names of those lost or injured at this time.
We are sincerely thankful for the quick response by the Tulsa Police Department, first responders and EMS agencies. And, our deepest gratitude extends to the members of our own Saint Francis family who cared for their own during this incident.
The Black Wall Street Times will update this article as soon as we receive more information.