UPDATE: Surgeon Was Targeted by Patient
At about 12:30 PM central time on Thursday, June 2, the Associated Press’s Sean Murphy and Jill Bleed reported the following: “A man who blamed his surgeon for continuing pain after a recent back operation bought an AR-style rifle and opened fire hours later at a Tulsa medical office, killing the doctor and three other people in an attack that ended with him taking his own life, police said Thursday. The gunman called the clinic repeatedly complaining of pain and specifically targeted the doctor who performed the surgery, Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin said. That physician, Dr. Preston Phillips, was killed Wednesday, along with Dr. Stephanie Husen, receptionist Amanda Glenn and patient William Love, police said. The attack occurred on the campus of Saint Francis Health System in Tulsa. The chief identified the shooter as Michael Louis, 45, of Muskogee, Oklahoma.”
The AP reporters wrote further that “Louis carried a letter that said he was targeting Phillips, Franklin said. The letter ‘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’” A phone number listed for an address for a Michael Louis in Muskogee was not working Thursday.”
[This is the original report from Wednesday night:]
At 4:52 p.m. local time in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a man entered the second floor of the Natalie Building, a medical office building that houses outpatient orthopedics and oncology departments within the Warren Clinic, a multispecialty physician practice affiliated with Saint Francis Health System, and fatally shot four people before fatally shooting himself; the Natalie Building is directly across from the flagship 1,112-bed Saint Francis Hospital in Tulsa.
The Associated Press’s Sean Murphy and Terry Wallace wrote on Wednesday night that “St. Francis Health System locked down its campus Wednesday afternoon because of the situation at the Natalie Medical Building. The Natalie building houses an outpatient surgery center and a breast health center. Dalgleish said an orthopedic clinic also is located on the second floor where officers discovered the shooter and several victims.”
In a press conference on Wednesday evening, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum, Deputy Police Chief Eric Dalgleish, and Saint Francis Health System CEO Cliff Robertson, M.D., spoke briefly to the press.
Dr. Robertson said that “There are 10,000 members of our Saint Francis family. And this senseless, horrible, incomprehensible act is not going to change that.”
Callie Morris, Megan Butler, Savannah Sinclair, and Cory Smith of KTUL News Channel 8, the local ABC affiliate, wrote that “Police said they arrived at 4:56 p.m., within just a few minutes of getting the call. The shooting took place on the second floor of the Natalie Building at Saint Francis Hospital. Police believe the shooter died of suicide.”
Police confirmed that the gunman was armed with an AR-15-style weapon.
Meanwhile, nvestigators are working to determine the gunman’s motive, although the shooting was not believed to be indiscriminate, Tulsa Police Captain Richard Meulenberg told CNN’s Don Lemon.
“He very purposefully went to this location, went to a very specific floor, and shot with very specific purpose,” he said. “This was not a random shooting by this individual.”
And an un-bylined CBS News report said that “Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt in a statement called the shooting a ‘senseless act of violence and hatred,’ adding, ‘Sarah and I are praying for the families of those who lost their lives and for those who were injured.’”
None of those who spoke to the press in the evening could confirm precisely who was killed; but professional sources have shared the possibility that a specific physician might have been targeted, something hinted at by the police.
Saint Francis Health System posted to its Facebook page a statement on Wednesday evening that read thus: “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. To allow our staff and caregivers the opportunity to process today’s tragedy, all Warren Clinic appointments in Tulsa and Broken Arrow scheduled before noon tomorrow have been cancelled. Additionally, the Warren Clinic Orthopedic offices in the Natalie Building will be closed until further notice. We ask that you please pray for the employees and physicians of the Saint Francis Health System.”
The health system also posted this information to its website: “To allow our staff and caregivers the opportunity to process today’s tragic incidents all Warren Clinic appointments scheduled before noon tomorrow in the Tulsa or Broken Arrow area have been cancelled. Additionally, the Warren Clinic Orthopedic offices in the Natalie Building will be closed for the balance of the week. If your appointment has been cancelled, your physician’s office will contact you to reschedule.”