Hospital gunman targeted doctor who performed his back surgery, Tulsa police say

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Hospital gunman targeted doctor who performed his back surgery, Tulsa police say

Tulsa police and first responders arrive at the scene of mass shooting Wednesday at Saint Francis Hospital that killed five people, including the shooter. Photo courtesy Tulsa Police Department/Facebook

The motive of the Tulsa hospital shooter was to kill the doctor who performed back surgery on him “and anyone else who got in his way,” Tulsa police Chief Wendell Franklin said In a live-streamed press conference Thursday.

The deceased shooting victims were Drs. Preston Phillips and Stephanie Housen, as well as Amanda Green and William Love. Green was a receptionist and Love was a patient. Phillips’ body was found in an exam room.

Franklin said the gunman, Michael Lewis, blamed Phillips for continuing pain after back surgery May 19. He saw Phillips again May 31, Wendell said.

Police said Lewis bought an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle Wednesday, hours before the killings, from a local Tulsa gun store. He bought a .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun from a local pawn shop.

Police said 30 .223-caliber bullet casings and seven .40-caliber casings were recovered at the scene.

A letter that made it clear he came to kill Phillips was found on Lewis’ body told the story of what he planned to do, according to police.

“We grieve with the families after this senseless tragedy. We grieve with the co-workers and we pray, We pray because we all need prayer,” Franklin said.

Tulsa police said the first 911 call came at 4:52 p.m. Wednesday when “a third party who had been on a video chat with a doctor” was told by the doctor to call police because there had been a shooting.

Chief Franklin said Tulsa police first arrived at the scene at 4:56 p.m. As police made their way to the second floor of the Natalie building on the campus of Saint Francis Hospital, they heard a final gunshot at 4:58 p.m.

Police believe that was the gunman taking his own life. A half-hour after the shootings, Lewis’ wife called law enforcement to say her husband had killed several people. Police said she did not know in advance that her husband planned to do the shootings.

“Our training led us to take immediate action without hesitation, They had the right mindset framed and went into action and did a tremendous job,” Franklin said.

Police rescued a woman hiding under a desk in the room in which the shooter killed himself. She was unhurt. An elderly female also was rescued from a room in which a victim was found, authorities said.

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