A terrifying mass shooting scene unfolded late Wednesday afternoon at a Tulsa, Oklahoma, medical building when a man armed with a handgun and a rifle killed four people before committing suicide, as the Washington Examiner reports.
The attack took place in an orthopedic specialist’s office within the Natalie Medical Building at Saint Francis Health System, and the gunman was later identified as 45-year-old Michael Louis of Muskogee, Oklahoma, according to the New York Post.
More details about the motive behind the incident emerged in the hours that followed, and authorities have revealed that Louis underwent back surgery on May 19, and his procedure was performed by a doctor by the name of Preston Phillips.
After his release from the hospital on May 24, Louis placed several calls to Phillips’ office complaining of persistent pain and requesting additional assistance, eventually visiting the doctor’s office on Tuesday and calling for more help on Wednesday.
Police revealed that very shortly before the attack, Louis purchased an AR-15-style rifle from a gun shop, close on the heels of his May 29 pawn shop purchase of a semi-automatic handgun. He then proceeded to the doctor’s office where, according to a letter he had written, he planned to murder Phillips and “anyone who got in his way” in retribution for his failed medical treatment.
As Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin explained on Thursday, “He blamed Dr. Phillips for the ongoing pain following the surgery,” and Louis also took his frustrations out on Dr. Stephanie J. Husen, office receptionist Amanda Glenn, and clinic patient William Love, who happened to be on the premises at the time, before turning one of his weapons on himself.
According to the Post, police were attempting to determine whether Louis had any prior contact with law enforcement, and a women who lived near the gunman and his family for the past five years described them as “church-going religious people” and “quiet, good neighbors.”
The Saint Francis Health System, under whose corporate umbrella the doctor’s office operated, released a statement in the aftermath of the horrific events, saying, “As a faith-based organization, the only recourse we have at this moment is to pray while we navigate this tragedy.”
Sadly, that approach was not adopted by everyone upon hearing the news, with New York City Councilwoman Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn making a premature and politically opportunistic public declaration that the shooting was undoubtedly caused by “white supremacy,” as the Post Millennial reported. Her unabashedly racist assumption, however, was quickly shattered once the shooter and at least one of his victims were revealed to have been Black.