One person was killed and four others wounded Tuesday at a Minnesota health clinic in a situation in which a gunman initially took hostages and claimed to have a bomb.
“It was a horrible-looking scene,” Wright County Sheriff Sean Deringer said, according to KARE-TV.
Late Tuesday, the station reported that one of the five victims had died. According to the Star Tribune of Minneapolis, three of the others were in “critical but stable condition” at a local hospital, while one person had been discharged.
Gregory Paul Ulrich, 67, of Buffalo, Minnesota, was jailed after the 10:55 a.m. shooting at Allina Health Clinic in Buffalo, the Star Tribune reported.
Although initial reports said a bomb went off, a Wright County official said no bombs were detonated, according to WCCO-TV. Suspicious packages were found at the clinic and explosive devices were also discovered at the motel where Ulrich was staying, Deringer said.
Police said Ulrich appears to have acted alone and was unhappy with the health care he had been receiving.
“The history we have with this individual makes it most likely that this incident was targeted at that facility or someone in that facility,” Buffalo Police Chief Pat Budke said, according to the Star Tribune. “Because of that previous contact with him, this was an isolated incident or only directed at people within [the clinic].”
Ulrich, who lived in a Buffalo trailer park, had three drunk driving convictions and a pending drug possession charge.
Charges against him of violating an anti-harassment order were dismissed because he was ruled mentally unfit for trial. A report filed in connection with that case said it was “highly recommended that [Ulrich] not be allowed to have use or possession of any dangerous weapons or firearms as a condition of his probation.”
Police responding to the incident were told by a dispatcher who had been in contact with the suspect, “He is saying that there are bombs inside. He is telling law enforcement to back off.”
The suspect allowed one woman to leave and told police “he does want to surrender now.” He later did.
Buffalo resident Walter Rohde, who lived near Ulrich, was stunned that his neighbor was involved in a crime.
“I just knew him as a kindly old man,” he said. “He liked to drink, I can tell you that much.”
“From what I know, a kind old man, retired. And to hear that he was a suspect, what the hell?”
Neighbor Bob Taylor told a different story.
“He was creepy, give you dirty looks, he was always down fishing at the lake down there, and he’d take the guts and stuff afterward and take it all down to the lake and dump it in the water again.”
“He had a blank stare all the time,” Taylor said. “He didn’t fit in.”
Buffalo Mayor Teri Lachermeier called residents to help each other deal with the violence, according to KARE.
“This doesn’t happen in Buffalo, Minnesota, right?” she said. “Reach out, check on people, make sure they’re OK.”
A witness named Kathy gave her account of the shooting.
She said she heard a man say “get down on the ground.” Then “there was screaming and there was shooting.”
Kathy went to hide in the clinic’s coffee nook and said she then heard more shooting from the back of the clinic. “I didn’t know what to do,” she said.
She said the shooter called in the shooting to 911.
“I heard him say ‘I’m gonna call 911,’ and then he himself called 911. He said ‘there was a shooting, you better send lots of ambulances.’
“I’ve never, just never experienced anything like this in my life,” she said.
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