A man armed with a rifle and a handgun killed four people inside a medical building in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Wednesday before fatally shooting himself, and officers’ quick response to the incident helped ensure more people were not harmed, police said.
Police arrived at the St Francis Hospital three minutes after receiving a call about the shooting and followed the sound of gunfire up to the Natalie Building’s second floor, Tulsa deputy police chief Eric Dalgleish told reporters.
The officers made contact with the victims and the suspect five minutes later, Dalgleish said. Police responses have come under increased scrutiny after a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers in a Texas school classroom last week while officers waited outside for nearly an hour.
Asked by reporters whether police had refreshed training or thinking about active shooters after the Uvalde, Texas school shooting, Dalgleish, said: “I think that’s probably fresh on everyone’s minds.”
“I will say Tulsa revisits that topic regularly. I was very happy with what we know so far regarding the response of our officers,” Dalgleish said.
Wednesday’s incident in Tulsa is the latest in a series of mass shootings that have shocked Americans and reignited debates about gun control. Two weeks before the Uvalde shooting, a white gunman killed 10 people at a supermarket in a black neighbourhood in Buffalo, New York.
Police said they were trying to determine the suspect’s identity and estimated he was aged between 35 and 40.
The Natalie Building contains doctors’ offices including an orthopedic centre, he said, adding he believed the victims included employees and patients.
The White House said President Joe Biden had been briefed on the shooting and offered support to state and local officials in Tulsa, a city of some 411,000 people that sits around 160km northeast of the capital Oklahoma City.