New York gunman and former doctor shoots himself , kills doctor and injures patients at theBronx-Lebanon Hospital
New York,July1:A former employee opened fire inside one of New York City’s busiest hospitals on Friday afternoon, killing one doctor and wounding six other people before taking his own life, New York police said.
New York Police Department Commissioner James O’Neill said during an early evening news conference that police received a 9-1-1 call at 2:55 p.m. about an active shooter wearing a white lab coat and armed with an assault rifle at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital. Responding officers located six victims on the 16th floor – five with serious injuries and another who had been shot in the leg – and another victim, a female doctor who had been shot and killed, on the 17th floor.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said the shooting was not an act of terrorism, but rather workplace-related.
He said the attack had been a “horrific situation in the middle of a place that people associate with care and comfort”.
Several of the injured are “fighting for their lives,” he said, adding that the doctor killed in the attack was a woman.
Police said the suspect was wearing a white medical coat when found. An assault rifle was also discovered nearby, which a local politician separately said appeared to be a military-grade M16 rifle.
The Associated Press, citing anonymous police sources, identified the gunman as a family medicine physician who previously worked at the hospital.
Messages on social media spoke of doctors and nurses barricading themselves inside the building in the Mount Hope district.
One patient in the radiology department, Felix Puno, tweeted: “Building is in complete shut down, I was in the middle of getting an X-ray when security alerted us to the active shooter situation.”
Garry Trimble, whose fiancée works at the hospital, said security was not good enough.
Staff members of the 1000-bed hospital told local media that soon after the shooting began they received a “code silver” alert – meaning there was an active shooter, and they began to instruct patients to hide.
“The cops started rushing in,” Michael Bias, an employee on the hospital’s ground floor emergency room, told ABC-7 in New York, in a live interview soon after the shooting. “We tried to keep the patients calm. . . All we heard was the commotion.”
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio praised police and firefighters who responded to the shooting and hospital staff who helped hide and comfort patients.
“Even in the midst of this horror there were many, many acts of heroism,” de Blasio said.
Even hours after the shooting, some family members of hospital employees and patients remained at the scene, waiting to be reconnected with those still being held inside the hospital.
Just before 7 p.m., Margaret Howard, 45, paced near the police tape cordoning off the hospital, phone pressed to her ear.
“I’m still trying to reach her,” Howard said of her mother, who had been a patient at the hospital for more than a week. “I don’t think she was hurt but I just want to check on her. She’s old and probably scared.”
Bronx-Lebanon is a private, not-for-profit hospital that has been operating for 120 years.
Shootings at hospitals are not common, but there have been several such instances in recent years.
In 2015, a man entered a Boston hospital and asked for a cardiologist by name, shooting him dead when he arrived. During the investigation, it emerged that the man’s mother had previously been a patient at the hospital.
In July 2016, another man opened fire in a patient’s room at a Florida medical centre, killing an elderly woman and a hospital worker. The suspect was later deemed to suffer from mental health issues, casting doubt over his competency to stand trial.
In July last year, a patient at a Berlin hospital shot a doctor before turning the gun on himself. The city had also seen a shooting outside another hospital earlier in the year, in which no-one was killed.