A gunman killed three people, including a police officer, at a hospital in Chicago, authorities said on Monday.
The gunman had opened fire outside Mercy hospital on the city’s South Side, killing an emergency room doctor with whom he was having a domestic relationship, then ran into the hospital and fatally shot a pharmacy resident and a police officer.
The attacker also died on Monday but it was not clear if he took his own life or was killed by police, Superintendent Eddie Johnson said.
Chicago “lost a doctor, pharmaceutical assistant and a police officer, all going about their day, all doing what they loved,” the mayor, Rahm Emanuel, said. “This just tears at the soul of our city. It is the face and a consequence of evil.”
Mercy Hospital said the staff who died were Tamara O’Neal, 38, an emergency room doctor, and Dayna Less, 25, a first year pharmacy resident who had recently graduated from Purdue University.
The dead police officer was identified as Samuel Jimenez, 28, who joined the department in February 2017 and had recently completed his probationary period, Johnson said. Police said he was married and the father of three children.
A witness named James Gray told reporters that it looked as if the attacker “was turning and shooting people at random”.
The shooting apparently began as the suspect was walking with O’Neal near a parking lot and repeatedly shot her in the chest. He then entered the hospital and continued firing, Gray said.
The two had been talking to each other. Gray said it didn’t seem like a heated exchange.
“Then once she fell to the ground, he stood over her and shot her three more times,” he said.
Jennifer Eldridge was working in a hospital pharmacy when she heard three or four shots that seemed to come from outside. Within seconds, she barricaded the door, as called for in the building’s “active shooter” drills. Then there were six or seven more shots, now much closer, just outside the door.
“I could tell he was now inside the lobby. There was screaming,” she recalled.
The door jiggled, which Eldridge believed was the shooter trying to get in. Some 15 minutes later, she estimated, a Swat team officer knocked at the door, came in and led her away. She looked down and saw blood on the floor but no bodies.
“It may have been 15 minutes, but it seemed like an eternity,” she told a reporter.
Mercy has a rich history as the city’s first chartered hospital. It began in 1852, when the Sisters of Mercy religious group converted a rooming house. During the civil war, the hospital treated both Unio