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Tulsa gunman bought an AR-15 the day of the mass shooting and targeted his doctor

Two people hug outside at Memorial High School where people were evacuated from the scene of a shooting at the Natalie Medical Building on Wednesday, in Tulsa, Okla.
Ian Maule
/
AP
Two people hug outside at Memorial High School where people were evacuated from the scene of a shooting at the Natalie Medical Building on Wednesday, in Tulsa, Okla.

Updated June 2, 2022 at 3:04 PM ET

Police in Tulsa, Okla., say the shooter's doctor was among those killed Wednesday during a mass shooting at a medical building. The shooter had complained multiple times about pain following back surgery and sought additional treatment in the days prior to the attack, police said.

The shooting on the campus of Saint Francis Health System left five people dead, including the gunman, according to police. Two doctors, Preston Phillips — who had treated the gunman — and Stephanie Husen, were killed as was Amanda Glenn, an employee, and William Love, a patient, according to The Associated Press.

Police said they believe the gunman, Michael Louis, shot himself.

During a news conference Thursday, Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin said the shooter had gone to the hospital for back surgery on May 19 under Phillips' care.

The shooter was released from the hospital on May 24. Afterward, the shooter called multiple times complaining about pain and seeking additional treatment. On Tuesday, Phillips saw the shooter for more treatment.

The gunman called Phillips' office again on Wednesday seeking additional care and complaining about pain in his back.

At 2 p.m. Wednesday — hours before the shooting — the gunman purchased an AR-15-style rifle from a local gun shop, Franklin said. The shooter also purchased a semiautomatic handgun on May 29 from a pawn shop.

Franklin said someone who was not at the hospital, but who was on a video call with a doctor who was, called 911 at 4:52 p.m. on Wednesday to tell authorities that there had been a shooting. Police then received more specific calls. Police first arrived on scene at 4:56 p.m.

Police recovered a letter on the suspect that showed that he intended to kill "Dr. Phillips and anyone who got in his way," Franklin said.

"He blamed Dr. Phillips for the ongoing pain following the surgery," Franklin added.

The shooting comes less than two weeks after the mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. The Tulsa shooting is the 233rd mass shooting in the U.S. this year.

"I ... want to express our community's profound gratitude for the broad range of first responders who did not hesitate today to respond to this act of violence," Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said at a news conference Wednesday.

Franklin said the department's training led officers to take action promptly and "without hesitation."

"We have seen the violence that has taken place throughout the United States," Franklin said. "We would be naive not to think that would not happen in our jurisdiction."

President Biden is scheduled to speak to the nation at 7:30 p.m. ET Thursday about the recent mass shootings and to ask Congress to pass laws to combat "the epidemic of gun violence," the White House said.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Rina Torchinsky