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Minnesota Gunman Had Grudge Against Health Clinic, Bomb Squad Still Investigating

Buffalo, MN – Officials said the man who planted “devices” in a Minnesota health clinic and then shot five people was upset about the healthcare he had received.

The suspect is believed to have planted multiple improvised explosive devices (IEDs) at the Allina Health Clinic and the Super 8 motel nearby it in Buffalo.

Law enforcement officials held a press conference on Monday afternoon and said bomb technicians were still working to make sure there were no more devices hidden in the Allina Health Clinic in Buffalo.

Both Buffalo Police Chief Pat Budke and Wright County Sheriff Sean Deringer indicated it was too early to comment on reports that one or more bombs had detonated inside the clinic because the bomb squad was still working to clear the building so that the entire scene could be investigated.

“Once all the victims were removed, the sheriff’s department did a search and found a suspicious package in the corner of the lobby,” Sheriff Deringer told reporters, but he wouldn’t confirm whether anything had actually exploded.

Chief Budke said investigators first needed to confirm what the devices were, and what the intention was behind them, before he commented on them.

But he said the bomb squad had to finish clearing the building before investigators could figure out what had happened.

“The Minneapolis bomb squad is still on the scene working to clear the medical clinic,” Sheriff Deringer explained.

Officials identified the gunman as 67-year-old Gregory Ulrich and said he had a history of being unhappy with the healthcare that he had gotten, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

“The history we have with this individual makes it most likely that this incident was targeted at that facility or someone in that facility,” Chief Budke said. “Because of that previous contact with him, this was an isolated incident or only directed at people within [the clinic].”

Sheriff Deringer said that law enforcement officers from several agencies have had “multiple contacts” with Ulrich dating back to 2003, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

“There is no information at this time to believe there is any nexus with any type of domestic terrorism,” Chief Budke told reporters. “We are very familiar with the suspect.”

Multiple people called 911 just before 11 a.m. on Feb. 9 and reported an “older white male” with a handgun in the Allina Health Clinic located in the 700-block of Crossroads Campus Drive, the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Police immediately began responding to the scene of the “active shooter,” but there was a twist.

At the same time people inside the clinic were calling the police, the gunman was calling them, too, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

A sheriff’s department dispatcher said his partner was on the phone with the shooter.

“He is saying that there are bombs inside,” the dispatcher said. “He is telling law enforcement to back off.”

The suspect said that “he does want to surrender now. … The male is going to stay in place, he is laying on his stomach … The male is saying the gun is inside the building somewhere,” according to radio traffic.

Then a bomb exploded about 30 minutes later in the family medicine and urgent care clinic at the facility, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

“We just had a bomb go off in the clinic,” according to the dispatch audio. “They’re evacuating the clinic parking lot, so we’re going to go stage back at the child-care center we originally staged at.”

According to radio traffic, the suspect in custody told police that he had planted multiple improvised explosive devices.

“The male is saying he had four explosive devices and they all went off – there might be one inside the briefcase near the front office that has not gone off yet,” an officer on the scene said on the radio.

The Minneapolis Police Department Bomb Squad, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) all responded to the scene to assist, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

Authorities did not confirm a final number of victims, but Kelly Spratt, the president of Allina Health Buffalo Hospital, confirmed that five victims had been transported to Level One trauma centers.

Spratt said that four of the victims had been transported to North Memorial Health Hospital in Robbinsdale and the fifth was sent to Hennepin County Medical Center.

He said he had no information on the identities or the medical conditions of the five patients.

Online court records showed that Ulrich had several arrests and convictions for drunk driving and marijuana possession, mostly in Wright County, between 2004 and 2014, the Associated Press reported.

Officials said Ulrich is scheduled to appear in court on Thursday.

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Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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