TULSA, Okla. - A gunman carrying a rifle and a handgun killed four people on Wednesday at a Tulsa, Oklahoma, medical building on a hospital campus, police said — the latest in a series of mass shootings across the U.S. in recent weeks.
The shooter also was dead, apparently from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Tulsa Police Department Deputy Chief Eric Dalgleish confirmed.
It was unclear what prompted the deadly assault in Tulsa, Dalgleish said. The shooting took place on the second floor of the Natalie Medical Building which is part of the Saint Francis Health System.
"It appears both weapons at one point or another were fired on the scene," Dalgleish said. "The officers who arrived were hearing shots 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 made contact with the gunman roughly five minutes later, at 5:01 p.m. Dalgleish said.
Police Capt. Richard Meulenberg also said multiple people were wounded and that the medical complex was a "catastrophic scene." The exact number of wounded was not immediately available.
Police and hospital officials said they were not ready to identify the dead.
St. Francis Health System locked down its campus Wednesday afternoon because of the situation at the Natalie Medical Building. The Natalie building houses an outpatient surgery center and a breast health center. Dalgleish said an orthopedic clinic also is located on the second floor where officers discovered the shooter and several victims.
Heavy police presence near Natalie Medical Building in Tulsa, Okla. on June 1, 2022. (Tulsa Police Department)
Investigators are interviewing witnesses at this time and the scene is secure.
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt released a statement on Twitter, calling the shooting "a senseless act of violence and hatred."
"What happened today in Tulsa is a senseless act of violence and hatred. Sarah and I are praying for the families of those who lost their lives and for those who were injured. I am grateful for the quick and brave actions of the Tulsa Police Department and other first responders who did their best to contain a terrible situation. I have offered Mayor G.T. Bynum any state resources that may be needed, and I ask all Oklahomans to come together in support of the Saint Francis Health System community and to grieve with those whose lives have been forever changed," Stitt’s post read.
Dozens of police cars could be seen outside the hospital complex, and authorities shut down traffic as the investigation went on. A reunification center for families to find their loved ones was set up at a nearby high school.
Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were also at the scene, a spokesperson said.
"@ATFDallasTulsa office personnel are on scene at St. Francis Hospital to provide assistance in the active shooter incident. Tulsa Police Department is the point of contact and will release more information as it becomes available," the bureau tweeted.
The Natalie Medical Building houses an outpatient surgery center and a breast health center.
Earlier on Wednesday, the chief of police advised people to avoid the area near 61st and Yale Avenue, which is the location of the Natalie building, according to local news media.
Just a few days before the incident, Tulsa police apprentice officers underwent active shooter training to prepare for "real-life scenarios," according to a Facebook post from the department.
"All Tulsa Police Officers also receive updated training and learn new tactics around Active Shooter Scenarios during their In Service Training, which happens yearly. This training has been scheduled for months, but is incredibly timely due to the recent school shooting in Texas," the post read in part.
The past few weeks have been riddled with gun violence as Americans mourn the loss of life in Texas, New York, California and now Oklahoma.
News of the Oklahoma shooting comes less than two weeks after a tragic mass school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, which left 19 children and two teachers dead.
And just a little over a week after the Texas mass shooting, another shooting took place at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, where an 18-year-old gunman killed 10 Black people.
And just one day after the New York shooting, on May 15, five people were injured and one person was killed inside a church in Laguna Woods, Calif.
Meanwhile, President Joe Biden over the weekend traveled to Uvalde, Texas, to grieve with a community that he said made clear to him they want to see Washington tighten gun laws in the aftermath of the shooting rampage that killed 19 children and two teachers. Biden heard similar calls for an overhaul of the nation’s gun laws earlier this month when he met with families of 10 Black people who were killed in a racist attack at a Buffalo supermarket.
A bipartisan group of senators held a private virtual meeting Tuesday to try to strike a compromise over gun safety legislation, but expectations remain low. Senators aren’t expected to even broach ideas for an assault weapon ban or other restrictions that could be popular with the public as ways to curb the most lethal mass shootings. Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, who led the session alongside Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and Thom Tillis, R-N.C., called Tuesday’s talks a "very constructive conversation."
House Judiciary Committee Jerrold Nadler also plans to hold a hearing Thursday on the "Protecting our Kids Act" — a package of eight bills that has almost no hopes of passing the Senate but would serve as a marker in the debate. It includes calls to raise the age limits on semi-automatic rifle purchases from 18 to 21 years old; create a grant program to buy back large-capacity magazines; establish voluntary safe practices for firearms storage and build on executive measures to ban bump stock devices and so-called ghost guns made from 3-D printing.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.