A man carrying a rifle and a handgun opened fire in a medical office building in Tulsa, Okla., on Wednesday afternoon, killing four people and injuring several others before apparently taking his own life in the latest mass shooting to shock the country, the authorities said.
In an interview late Wednesday night, Capt. Richard Meulenberg of the Tulsa Police Department said the attack was not random.
“This wasn’t an individual who just decided he wanted to go find a hospital full of random people,” he said. “He deliberately made a choice to come here and his actions were deliberate.” Captain Meulenberg declined to say any more about the gunman’s motive.
The police did not reveal the identity of the gunman, but at an earlier news conference, Deputy Chief Eric Dalgleish said that he was between 35 and 40 years old.
The police received a call about a shooting at 4:52 pm, and they arrived at the scene four minutes later, Chief Dalgleish said. All of the gunfire is believed to have taken place in one section of the second floor of the Natalie Medical Building on the campus of Saint Francis Hospital, he said. The sound of gunfire drew officers to that area.
“There is an orthopedic center, an orthopedic office, there, but I’m unaware if that occupies the whole floor, or if there are other offices on the floor,” he said, adding that it was “at least part of the scene .”
As police officers arrived at the second-floor entryway, the gunfire stopped, Captain Meulenberg said in a telephone interview. Officers entered and immediately found a victim, and as they continued their search, they found the body of the gunman, who had apparently shot himself with a pistol, he said.
Chief Dalgleish said that the victims could have been a combination of workers and patients. None of the wounded had life-threatening injuries, the police said, and no officers were injured in the attack, during which the gunman fired both his weapons.
Captain Meulenberg said that the number of people injured from being shot seemed to be “very low” but that there were other injuries tied to hundreds of people fleeing the building at the time of the attack. “Imagine a scene of mass chaos,” he said. “You can hear gunfire echoing.”
The Muskogee Police Department said that it was alerted by the Tulsa Police Department that the gunman might have left a bomb at a residence in Muskogee, about 50 miles southeast of Tulsa. Muskogee police evacuated the home and notified those in the area to stay inside, the department said.
A bomb squad was on its way to the residence late Wednesday, and the Muskogee police were working to obtain a search warrant to search the home.
Mayor GT Bynum of Tulsa said at the news conference that some of the families of the victims had not yet been informed about what had happened.
“This has been the facility more than any other that has worked to save the lives of people in this city,” Mr. Bynum said. He praised “the broad range of first responders today who did not hesitate to respond to this act of violence.”
The White House said that President Biden had been briefed on the shooting, which came just eight days after 19 students and two teachers were killed in a mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, and 18 days after 10 people were killed by a gunman at a supermarket in Buffalo, NY
When asked about his response to Tulsa’s joining the list of American cities that have experienced mass shootings over the past few weeks, Mr. Bynum said that his “thoughts are with the victims in here, many of whose families don’t even know about this yet.”
“If we want to have a policy discussion, that is something to be had in the future, but not tonight, not tonight,” Mr. Bynum said.
Cliff Robertson, the chief executive of Saint Francis Hospital, said, “There will be a very bumpy road, I think, ahead of us.”
“But there are over 10,000 people that are part of the Saint Francis health system that every day commit their lives to taking care of people in need, taking care of everyone in need, and this senseless, horrible, incomprehensible act is not going to change that,” Mr. Robertson said.
Govt. Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma said in a statement on Wednesday night that the shooting today in Tulsa was “a senseless act of violence and hatred.”
Before the news conference, Captain Meulenberg said that the gunfire had ceased and that the authorities were searching the building “floor by floor, room by room.”
“It’s a catastrophic scene in there right now,” Captain Meulenberg told reporters outside the hospital.
Chief Wendell Franklin of the Tulsa Police said on Twitter that the police had responded to an “active shooter incident” near East 61st Street and South Yale Avenue in Tulsa and next to Saint Francis Hospital.
“Please stay away from the area and yield to all emergency vehicles as we deal with this response,” Chief Franklin said.
The Tulsa Police Department said on Twitter that it had set up a reunification site for families at Memorial High School.
Jason Bailey contributed reporting, and Jack Begg and Sheelagh McNeill contributed research.