While it is still unclear why a man shot and killed four people and injured several others at a Tulsa, Oklahoma, medical center on Wednesday, police have said the attack was not random.
On Wednesday, a shooter described as a black man between the ages of 35 and 40 entered the Natalie Building on the St. Francis Hospital campus, traveled to the second floor, and began shooting before reportedly turning the gun on himself. Police are still trying to determine the motive behind the shooting, but Tulsa Police Captain Richard Meulenberg told CNN that it was a purposeful attack.
“He very purposefully went to this location, went to a very specific floor, and shot with very specific purpose,” Meulenberg told the outlet. “This was not a random shooting by this individual.”
Meulenberg made similar comments per The New York Times, saying the gunman’s “actions were deliberate.”
Police later said that one of those killed in the shooting had treated the suspect as a surgery patient in the past.
Officers responded to the medical center within minutes of receiving a call about a man with a gun in the building, Tulsa Police Deputy Chief Eric Dalgleish said at a press conference. When they arrived, they “were hearing shots in the building, and that’s what directed them to the second floor,” he added, according to CNN.
Police currently believe the gunman shot himself after killing four other people and wounding fewer than 10 others.
Witnesses described the scene to CNN affiliate KTUL. Lachelle Nathan told the outlet she was with her daughter-in-law and grandchildren heading to a doctor’s appointment when she saw police running toward the medical complex.
“It’s awful, it’s sad. My daughter-in-law is from Buffalo, so now it’s so close to home. It’s not even safe if you come outside anymore, you know?” she told the outlet.
“I mean, you see it on TV,” her daughter-in-law told the outlet, “but you don’t think it’s actually going to happen right in front of your eyes, so this is a wakeup call for my kids, this can really happen anywhere and it’s very scary.”
“You can’t even go to a store, you can’t even go to school, now you can’t go to the doctor?” she added.
In the wake of the tragedy, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt (R) released a statement calling the attack “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,” the governor added. “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.”