Tulsa Police Department Deputy Chief Eric Dalgleish confirmed the death toll and said the shooter also died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Recent gun violence across the country, including the killing of 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Texas eight days ago by an 18-year-old armed with an AR-style semi-automatic rifle, has led to Democratic leaders. They are increasing their calls for more gun restrictions, while Republicans are emphasizing more security in schools.
The division reflects a partisan divide that has stalled action in Congress and many state capitals over how to respond to record-high gun-related deaths in the US.
It’s unclear what motivated the deadly attack in Tulsa, Dalgleish said.
“It appears that at one point or another both weapons were fired at the scene,” Dalgleish said. “The officers who arrived were hearing gunshots in the building and that’s what led them to the second floor.”
Police responded to the call about three minutes after dispatchers received the report at 4:52 p.m., and about five minutes later, at 5:01 p.m., they made contact with the gunman, Dalgleish said.
“I’m very pleased with what we know so far about the response of our officers,” Dalgleish said.
The length of time it took police officers in Uvalde, Texas, to engage the gunman in last week’s deadly shooting at Robb Elementary School became a central focus of that investigation.
Police Capt. Richard Muhlenberg also said multiple people were injured and the medical complex was a “catastrophic scene.”
The police and hospital authorities said that they are not ready to identify the deceased.
St. Francis Health System closed the campus Wednesday afternoon due to the situation at the Natalie Medical Building. The Natalie building houses an outpatient surgery center and a breast health center. Dalgleish said there was also an orthopedic clinic on the second floor, where officers found the shooter and several other victims.
“This campus is sacred ground for our community,” said Tulsa Mayor GT Bynum. “For decades, this campus has been a place where heroes come to work every day to save the lives of people in our community.”
Bynum added: “Right now, my thoughts are with the victims. If we want to have a policy discussion, that will have to happen in the future, but not tonight.
Nicholas O’Brien of Tulsa, whose mother was in a nearby building when the shooting happened, told reporters she rushed to the scene.
“They were running people out. It is not known whether some of them were injured during the shooting or just injured, and some could not walk properly. But they staggered and staggered and got them out of there,” he said.
“I was so worried. So once I got here and I heard she (his mother) was OK, the shooter was shot down, I felt so good. It’s still scary what happened,” O’Brien said.
When Philip Tankersley, 27, left his father’s room at nearby St. Francis Hospital around 5 p.m., hospital staff said there was an active shooter in the building across the street, locking the doors and warning them to stay away from the windows.
Tankersley said she and her mother huddled in her father’s hospital room for more than an hour, trying to learn information from TV news and passing nurses. He said they heard “code silver” and “level 1 trauma” announced over the hospital speakers and were surprised they were safe in the room.
“I wasn’t particularly worried because the two people I was supposed to be paying attention to were in the same room as me,” he said. “But it was definitely a moment that happened here.”
Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were also at the scene, the spokesman said. A reunification center was set up at a nearby high school for families to find their loved ones.
Wednesday’s shooting comes more than two weeks after a white man allegedly killed 10 black people in a racist attack at a Buffalo supermarket. The recent Memorial Day weekend saw multiple mass shootings nationwide, with a single fatality resulting in the most gun deaths.
There have been 12 shootings that killed four or more people since January, according to the Associated Press/USA Today/Northeastern University Mass Homicide Database. That shooting killed 76 people in Buffalo and Texas, including 31 adults and children, the database says. The death toll does not include the suspects in the shooting.