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Mass Shooter At Tulsa Medical Center Killed 4 After Blaming Doctor For Back Pain

Tulsa, OK – Four people were murdered and additional victims were wounded during an active shooter incident at the Natalie Building at St. Francis Hospital on Wednesday evening.

Calls for help at the medical complex, which is located near Yale and 61st Street, began coming it at 4:52 p.m. on June 1, KOTV reported.

Police arrived at the scene four minutes later.

Tulsa Police Department (TPD) Chief Wendell Franklin held a press conference with other city and hospital officials on Thursday morning to provide additional details about the series of events leading to the attack, as well as the law enforcement response to the incident.

Chief Franklin said the alleged gunman, Michael Lewis, underwent back surgery at St. Francis Hospital on May 19.

The physician who performed the procedure was Dr. Preston Phillips.

Lewis was released from the hospital on May 24, but repeatedly called Dr. Phillips’ office in the days that followed complaining about his pain and asking for more “treatment,” Chief Franklin said.

Dr. Phillips met with Lewis again on May 31 for additional treatment, but Lewis again called him wanting “additional assistance” the following day, according to the police chief.

Investigators later learned that Lewis purchased a semiautomatic “AR-15-style rifle” from a local gun store at 2 p.m. on June 1, just hours before the attack at the hospital, Chief Franklin told reporters.

Lewis also purchased a .40-caliber Smith and Wesson handgun from a local pawn shop on May 29, he added.

Tulsa police received a 911 call at 4:52 p.m. from a woman who was not at the hospital, but who was in the middle of a video chat with an on-site doctor when he told her to call 911 because someone was shooting inside the building, Chief Franklin said.

As more people began calling 911, the information regarding the gunman’s location inside the sprawling, five-story medical building became more specific.

Police were notified at 4:55 p.m. that the shooter was inside the Natalie building, which Chief Franklin described as a tactically-difficult, “exceedingly complex environment.”

The first officer arrived at the scene at 4:56 p.m. and was soon followed by a wave of law enforcement officers from all around the area.

Police immediately stormed the building and made their way up to the second floor.

As they were advancing towards the suspect’s location, they heard a gunshot at 4:58 p.m., Chief Franklin said.

Investigators believe that shot, which occurred just 39 seconds after police first entered the building, was the sound of Lewis fatally shooting himself.

Officers located Lewis’ body and rescued a woman who was hiding beneath a desk next to the gunman’s foot.

She said she was there when the gunman shot himself.

Police located a total of four people who were killed in the attack.

They have been identified as Dr. Phillips, Dr. Stephanie Husen, Amanda Green, and William Love.

Chief Franklin said they found a letter on Lewis’ body that “made it clear” he came to the hospital with the intent of “killing Dr. Phillips and anyone who got in his way.”

The chief said Lewis “blamed” Dr. Phillips for his back pain.

Investigators have recovered 30 .223 casings from the scene, as well as seven .40-caliber casings, he said.

Tulsa Police Department (TPD) Captain Richard Meulenberg said on Wednesday night that fewer than 10 more people were injured in the attack, and that they are all expected to survive, CBS News reported.

He described the scene as “catastrophic.”

Muskogee police said they also received information that the gunman might have left a bomb at a home in Muskogee, but no explosives were located when a bomb squad searched the residence on Wednesday night, according to CBS News.

Chief Franklin said his department is grieving with the families and coworkers of those who were killed and wounded.

“I cannot begin to thank the men and woman of the Tulsa Police Department for the immediate response they had,” the chief told reporters. “Our training allowed us to take immediate action without hesitation…They had the right mindset…went into action and did a tremendous job.”

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said the “broad range of first responders” who raced to the scene “did not hesitate,” and that the community is profoundly grateful for their actions.

“This campus is sacred ground for our community,” Bynum said, according to The Washington Post. “For decades, this campus has been a place where heroes come to work every day to save the lives of people in our community.”

The St. Francis Health System also released a statement in the wake of the attack.

“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,” the statement read, according to KOTV.

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt called the mass shooting “a senseless act of violence and hatred,” KOCO reported.

“Sarah and I are praying for the families of those who lost their lives and for those who were injured,” Stitt continued. “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.”

“I have offered Mayor G.T. Bynum any state resources that may be needed, and I ask all Oklahomans to come together in support of the Saint Francis Health System community and to grieve with those whose lives have been forever changed,” the governor added.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin

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