Four people are dead after the former fiance of an emergency room doctor confronted her with a handgun outside a Chicago hospital.
- Man began shooting after argument with ex-fiancee
- Gunman burst into hospital and shot at random
- Three victims died, shooter later found dead with bullet wound to head
The doctor, a pharmaceutical assistant and a police officer were shot dead at the scene on Monday afternoon (local time). The shooter also succumbed to gunshot wounds.
Mercy Hospital identified doctor Tamara O’Neal, 38, and first-year pharmacy resident Dayna Less, 25, as the dead staff members.
The police officer was 28-year-old Samuel Jimenez, who had recently completed his probationary period after joining the force in 2017.
The name of the shooter was not revealed.
Confronted at work
Witnesses said the gunman approached Dr O’Neal in the hospital car park about 3.30pm (local time), demanding she return a ring.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said an argument broke out and the shooter became agitated when a friend of Dr O’Neal tried to intervene.
“The offender lifted up his shirt and displayed a handgun,” Superintendent Johnson said.
Gunfire rang out as Dr O’Neal’s friend ran to the hospital to call for help.
Witness James Gray said Dr O’Neal fell to the ground and the shooter, “stood over her and shot her three more times”.
When police arrived on the scene, the gunman shot at the squad car before bursting into the hospital.
As police gave chase, the shooting continued.
Dr Less had just come out of the elevator when she was shot at random, Superintendent Johnson said.
“[Dr Less] had nothing to do with nothing,” he said.
“We just don’t know how much damage he was prepared to do.”
Officer Jimenez was shot in the hospital’s lobby as the gunman fled.
A bullet reportedly just missed another officer, going through the officer’s holster and lodging into the gun.
The scene was described as “total chaos” by witnesses. The Chicago Tribune reported the man fired about 32 rounds.
Maria Correa hid under a desk while clutching her four-month-old son as bullets rang out for 10 to 15 minutes.
She said she lost track of how many gunshots she heard.
“They were the worst minutes of our lives,” Ms Correa said.
Police officers were unclear on how many people had been shot and how many shooters were at the scene.
Officers locked down the hospital’s first floor and closed off stairwells, eventually locating the shooter, who had sustained a fatal head wound.
It was not clear whether the gunman was shot by police or if his injury was self-inflicted.
Chicago in mourning
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel fought back tears as he addressed a press conference late on Monday night.
“This just tears at the soul of our city,” Mr Emanuel said.
“It is the face and a consequence of evil.”
Emergency Department director Patrick Connor told the Chicago Sun Times Dr O’Neal was a “wonderful individual” and hardworking doctor dedicated to her patients.
He said she was also a devoted churchgoer who led the choir and raised money for children in need.
Dr Less had only been working at the hospital since July after recently graduating from university.
She was planning on heading back to her home state of Indiana the following day to spend Thanksgiving with her family, US broadcaster ABC 7 reported.
The 25-year-old was planning her wedding, which was to take place next June.
Officer Jimenez was married with three young children.
Tweet from Chicago Police: Today, we mourn Chicago Police Officer Samuel Jimenez. His heroic actions saved countless lives. He ran toward danger. He ran toward those shots. He ran into fire. Selflessly.
“He was a stellar recruit,” Sergeant Larry Snelling told the Chicago Tribune.
Emergency services crews lined the road as Officer Jimenez’s body was transported to the county medical examiner’s office.
Dozens of police cars made up a procession, following the ambulance carrying his body, with hundreds lining the street to salute the fallen officer.
A total of 37 fire trucks were part of the emergency services salute, with the US flag rigged up on ladders along the ambulance’s route.
Tweet from Chicago Fire Media: CFD truck 37 among units saluting the procession of fallen police officer Sam Jimenez.