The gunman who opened fire at a Tulsa, Oklahoma, medical center last week was targeting his orthopedic surgeon, whom he blamed for ongoing pain.
The gunman, who will not be named per The Daily Wire policy regarding mass shooters, targeted Dr. Preston Phillips, who had performed surgery on the shooter on May 19. The gunman was released from the hospital on May 24 and proceeded to call Phillips’ office multiple times to complain of ongoing pain, USA Today reported. On May 31, Phillips saw the patient again and provided additional treatment, though it is unknown what that treatment was. On June 1, the gunman again called Phillips’ office to complain about pain and demand more treatment before entering the office and killing four people. The man apparently killed himself as well.
“He blamed Dr. Phillips for the ongoing pain after the surgery,” Tulsa Police Department Chief Wendell Franklin told reporters on Thursday.
Franklin said that the shooter was carrying a letter that “made it clear that he came in with the intent to kill Dr. Phillips and anyone who got in his way.”
Phillips was killed along with Dr. Stephanie Husen, receptionist Amanda Dawn Glenn, and William Love, the husband of another patient who reportedly held a door closed to allow others, including his wife, to escape.
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.
Witnesses described the scene of the shooting 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.”