At least four people have been killed and others injured in a shooting at a medical clinic in Oklahoma on Wednesday, according to police.
The Tulsa Police Department confirmed that five people total, including the shooter, were dead, with officers still clearing the building as of Wednesday evening.
Officers responded to reports of a man with a rifle at St Francis Hospital’s Natalie Building, which then turned into an “active shooter situation”. The building houses an outpatient surgery center and a breast health centre.
“We’re treating this as a catastrophic scene right now,” Tulsa police captain Richard Meulenberg told a group of reporters.
Deputy police chief Eric Dalgleish said police were called at 4.52pm and arrived four minutes later, making contact with the suspect at 5.01pm on the second floor of the building.
He said the suspect was a black man between 35 and 40 years old, identity unknown, carrying a pistol and a rifle, and that he is believed to have killed himself. No police officers were injured.
Police do not yet know the shooters motive, he added, nor whether he was targeting any particular person or group.
Later that evening, police in nearby Muskogee said they were investigating a possible bomb, which according to reports may have been left by the Tulsa shooter.
An officer who had been inside the Natalie Building told Fox 23 Tulsa that one of the dead was found dressed in a doctor’s uniform, while the other two wore nurses’ clothes.
The Tulsa Police Department said: “Officers are currently going through every room in the building checking for additional threats. We know there are multiple injuries, and potentially multipled casualties.
“We’re asking family members and friends to go to Memorial High School west of LaFortune Park for a reunification site.”
The shooting follows a string of similar attacks in Oklahoma and nearby Texas, where 19 students and two teachers were shot dead by a gunman at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde last week.
Only ten days earlier, an alleged die-hard white supremacist killed ten black people and injured three others in a live-streamed terror attack on a supermarket in Buffalo, New York.
Then, on Sunday, one person was killed and seven injured when gunshots erupted at a Memorial Day festival in Taft, Oklahoma.
Last Friday the Tulsa Police Department conducted a long-scheduled active shooter drill at a school that was standing empty for the summer holidays, teaching police trainees how to enter and clear classrooms.
Dr Kevin Howarth, who was working in the building just across from the Natalie Building, told Fox 23 that he had heard people yelling and then saw a lady in scrubs “frantically” leaving the building, before “the entire campus flooded with police”.
THE video that appeared to be from the scene showed law enforcement officers armed with semi-automatic rifles sprinting across a grassy outdoor space between hospital buildings, while Tulsa Police cars moved into position and a police officer retrieved a rifle from his car trunk.
Federal agents including from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) were also on the scene to assist with the investigation.
The White House said that President Joe Biden has been briefed on the shooting and that his staff were monitoring the situation.
Kevin Hern, a Republican serving in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, said: “There’s still a lot we don’t know about what happened tonight in the Natalie Building.
“But what we do know is this: multiple lives were taken from us, and many more changed forever. My prayers are with those who lost loved ones tonight.”
St Francis Health System chief executive Dr Cliff Robertson said: “There are over 10,000 people who are part of the St Francis health system that every day commit their lives to taking care or people in need, taking care of everyone in need.
“This sensless, horrible, incomprehensible act is not going to change that.”