'Horrible' Minn. Shooting; 1 Dead, 4 Injured; Suspect 'No Stranger' To Police
Updated at 10:16 p.m. ET
Authorities in Wright County, Minn., say that a local man is suspected in Tuesday's shooting at a health clinic that wounded five people, one of whom later died at a hospital.
Officers from the police and sheriff's department responded to a call at 10:54 a.m. that shots had been fired at the Allina Health Clinic. Law enforcement officers found victims and the suspect there, and began to render aid. Buffalo is roughly 40 miles northwest of Minneapolis.
Wright County Sheriff Sean Deringer, at a news conference, identified the suspect as 67-year-old Gregory Paul Ulrich of Buffalo.
The police and sheriff's office "have had several calls for service regarding Mr. Ulrich dating back to 2003," Deringer said. "So he's no stranger to law enforcement."
"It's a horrible-looking scene," Deringer said. He said that a suspicious-looking package had been found in the clinic's lobby.
Speaking haltingly and with evident struggle, Buffalo Police Chief Pat Budke said the police department was "very familiar with the suspect." He said the department had no indications that the incident was related to domestic terrorism.
Budke described Ulrich as having a "history of conflict" and said that based on what they know about him, it is most likely that the incident was targeted specifically at the Allina clinic or someone within that facility.
Urich has "lived in this community for quite a long time and has had contact with health care within the community during that time," Budke said. "None of the information we have from our past contact with him would indicate that he was unhappy with or would direct his anger at anyone other than people within the facilities where he had been treated, or where they had attempted to give treatment."
Minnesota Public Radio reports that court documents show Ulrich had previously been "ordered to stay away from the clinic and one of the physicians who practices there, but the case was dismissed because Ulrich was found to be mentally incompetent." Wright County Attorney Brian Lutes said Ulrich is expected in court Thursday morning, MPR reports.
Investigators believe that Ulrich acted alone and that there are no additional suspects.
Kelly Spratt, the president of Allina Health Buffalo Hospital, said the victims had been transported to two hospitals that serve as level-one trauma centers. He declined to give further information on the status of the victims.
Asked about reports of an explosion, Budke said it was not clear whether an explosion might have occurred before law enforcement arrived at the scene, because they left the building as quickly as possible after rendering aid to victims.
Budke said reports that a bomb had gone off after the shooting were false, he said. A bomb squad is investigating.
Ulrich had been staying most recently at a nearby Super 8 hotel, and officers were sent to evacuate it. When they arrived at the hotel, they found "suspicious devices," Deringer said.
Schools in the area were placed on lockdown and the public was asked to stay out of the area as law enforcement officers, including a bomb squad, investigated.
In the aftermath of the shooting, the Minnesota State Patrol said its pilots were "flying six boxes of blood from the Red Cross" to the Buffalo Hospital to help treat victims.
Mayor Teri Lachermeier said the community would need to support each other's mental health in the coming days. "This is our family. These people were working together to make sure that our community feels safe right now, that our community in Allina feels safe. Our hearts and prayers go out to the staff and the victims. And I just want to say, you guys: We're going to make it through this, it's going to be difficult. This doesn't happen in Buffalo, Minnesota, right?"
"But we gotta to be there for these people that are needing us," she said. "We gotta reach out – and you know in this time of COVID, where you can't physically hug someone, we need to reach out by phone and make sure everybody's OK."
This is a breaking news story. Some things reported by the media will later turn out to be wrong. We will focus on reports from officials and other authorities, credible news outlets and reporters who are at the scene. We will update as the situation develops.
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