Brooklyn, NY – New York City Councilwoman Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn jumped to the conclusion that “white supremacy” was to blame for the mass shooting at St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa, even though the gunman has been identified as a black male.
Tulsa Police Department (TPD) Chief Wendell Franklin identified the shooter who killed four people and wounded many more at the Natalie Building on June 1 as Michael Lewis, a disgruntled patient who was upset his doctor wasn’t giving him the “treatment” he wanted to combat his back pain.
“We can’t even process one mass shooting before the next occurs. Today’s atrocity in Tulsa happened on the 101st anniversary of the Tulsa Black Wall Street massacre. White Supremacy is clearly a factor,” the Brooklyn councilwoman declared.
Tulsa police had previously confirmed that Lewis, who fatally shot himself as police closed in, was black.
Hermelyn’s post remained up as of Thursday afternoon.
Chief Franklin held a press conference with other Tulsa 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 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.”