large group of police officers stand outside taped off exit to Tulsa medical center after mass shooting
Getty Images | J Pat Carter

Community Left To Pick Up Pieces After Tulsa Shooting Kills 5 At Medical Center

Police in Oklahoma have confirmed that the perpetrator of a Tulsa shooting claimed the lives of four people before succumbing to a self-inflicted wound in the nation's third mass shooting in less than four weeks.

The recent spate of shootings began on May 14 when a racially-motivated shooter killed 10 people in a Buffalo, New York supermarket. The nation was further devastated when a teenaged gunman fatally shot 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

But while the latter of these incidents has drawn horrified reactions and inspired beautiful acts of charity from other communities, the most recent incident in Tulsa is still being processed by the city's residents.

The medical center where this shooting took place is considered a center of its community and a "sacred ground," leaving frustrated citizens wondering where they can truly be safe.

On June 1, police first received word of an active shooter in the Natalie Medical Building at Tulsa's St. Francis Health System campus at 4:52 pm.

police cars flash blue and red lights in front of medical center in Tulsa, Oklahoma after mass shooting
Getty Images | Chandan Khanna

According to USA Today, officers arrived on the scene within four minutes and by 5:01, they made contact with the shooter and some of his victims after hearing shots on the building's second floor.

CNN additionally reported that by the time police reached him, the shooter had already fallen by what they understand to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He had been carrying a semi-automatic handgun and a semi-automatic rifle.

Police mentioned that less than 10 others sustained non-life-threatening injuries and have since identified the shooter's victims as Dr. Preston Phillips, Dr. Stephanie Husen, receptionist Amanda Green and patient William Love.

large group of police officers stand outside taped off exit to Tulsa medical center after mass shooting
Getty Images | J Pat Carter

Captain Richard Meulenberg had initially told CNN that officers believe he was specifically targeting a doctor at the building's orthopedic center.

In his words, "He very purposefully went to this location, went to a very specific floor, and shot with very specific purpose. This was not a random shooting by this individual."

According to ABC News, Phillips was that doctor and the shooter had apparently blamed him for the pain that lingered after he underwent back surgery on May 19.

Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin said that he had called Phillips several times asking for help with the pain prior to the incident.

The other victims were believed to have been in the way as the shooter targeted Phillips.

Despite reeling from the shooting, community members stepped in once a designated reunification center was established.

Man leans against his car door with worried expression in Tulsa, Oklahoma after mass shooting
Getty Images | J Pat Carter

There, USA Today reported that Johnnie Munn (not pictured) provided food, water, and emotional support to his fellow Tulsa residents, just as he had after the 2017 Las Vegas shooting.

And while Kevin Foristal of Broken Arrow was elated to see that his wife was safe after receiving outpatient therapy at the hospital's main building, he knew that others waiting with him may not share in that good fortune.

Lachelle Nathan was headed to the medical center for an appointment when police blocked it off and since her daughter-in-law is from Buffalo, the events of the last month have hit particularly close to home for her.

As she said, "You can’t even go to a store, you can’t even go to school, now you can’t go to the doctor?"

But while the police response to the shooting in Uvalde, Texas remains mired in controversy, the same cannot be said in Tulsa.

police officer stands with hand in his vest in front of ploce SUV after mass shooting in Tulsa, Oklahoma
Getty Images | J Pat Carter

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum expressed gratitude for the quick response of officers, who he characterized as not hesitating for a second to confront the shooter.

And while his sentiments were echoed by Oklahoma Representative Melissa Provenzano, the incident compelled her to advocate for measures preventing potentially dangerous individuals from accessing guns, otherwise known as "red flag" laws.

In her words, "I just can’t say enough good things about them but you know, why were they needed in the first place?"

h/t: USA Today, CNN