Four killed in Oklahoma hospital shooting

Four killed in Oklahoma hospital shooting

A gunman killed at least four people Wednesday at a hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma, police said. It was the latest mass shooting to convulse the United States as Texas families bury their dead after a school massacre nearly 10 days earlier.

The suspect, who was armed with a rifle and a handgun during his attack on the Saint Francis hospital campus, died by suicide, police said.

Right now we have four civilians dead, we have a shooter that is dead, and right now we believe that is self-inflicted, Tulsa Police Department Deputy Chief Eric Dalgleish told reporters.

He said that officers responded immediately after emergency calls came in that a gunman had stormed into the second floor of the Natalie Building, which houses a clinic on the Saint Francis campus.

Police were hearing shots in the building when they arrived, according to Dalgleish, who said officers searched floor by floor, room by room while trying to clear the building during what authorities described as an active shooter situation.

Earlier in the day, police captain Richard Meulenberg said officers were treating the scene as catastrophic, with several people shot and multiple injuries. It was not clear how many other people might have been injured.

Dalgleish said the entire assault from the moment emergency calls came in to the time officers engaged the shooter lasted about four minutes.

Dalgleish noted that the suspect had yet to be identified.

President Joe Biden was briefed on the shooting, the White House said in a statement that the administration has offered support to Tulsa officials.

Elizabeth Buchner, a legal assistant who lives behind the building in which the shooting occurred, said she rushed out of her house when she heard helicopters and a loud commotion coming from the direction of the hospital.

Buchner, 43, told AFP by telephone that it was the most law enforcement I've seen at one place in my entire life.

She said she saw a tactical team rush inside as part of a response she described as fast and strong, with no hesitation. Melissa Provenzano, a Oklahoma state legislator, praised the swift response of the officers.

She told CNN that it could have been so much worse.

She expressed frustration at how such tragedies happen in America.

She said that we deserve better than this. It's time to address these things, because these things are preventable. The shooting is the latest in a series of deadly attacks by gunmen that have rocked the United States in the past month.

On May 14, a white supremacist targeting African Americans killed 10 people at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York. The shooter was arrested and is facing charges.

Ten days later, an 18-year-old gunman armed with an AR-15 burst into an elementary school in the small Texas town of Uvalde killed 21 people -- 19 of whom were young children -- before being shot dead by law enforcement.

One of the two teachers killed in the attack was laid to rest in Uvalde on Wednesday, a day after the first funerals for the children.

Gun regulation in the United States is facing a lot of resistance from most Republicans and some rural-state Democrats.

But Biden, who visited Uvalde over the weekend, promised earlier this week to push for reform, saying: I think things have gotten so bad that everyone is getting more rational about it. Some key federal lawmakers have voiced cautious optimism and a bipartisan group of senators worked through the weekend to pursue possible compromises.

They were focusing on laws to raise the minimum age for gun purchases or allow police to remove guns from people considered a threat to themselves or others - but not on an outright ban on high-powered rifles like the weapons used in Uvalde and Buffalo.