It was just before 11 AM at Allina Health Urgent Care – Buffalo Crossroads clinic in Buffalo, Minnesota when authorities responded to an “active shooter incident.” Police and SWAT teams quickly arrived on the scene and apprehended the suspect. Four people were injured, and one person died in the shooting. The survivors were transported to a local hospital, according to Kelly Spratt, the president of Buffalo Health.
They have identified the alleged shooter as Gregory Paul Ulrich, 67, who was reportedly “unhappy” with the care he’d received at the facility.
A Familiar Suspect
Law enforcement officials say they were well aware of Ulrich prior to the shooting. Police Chief Pat Budke said the Buffalo Police Department is “very familiar with the suspect,” who had a history that “spanned several years.”
Urlich has lived in the community “for quite a long time and has had contact with health care within the community during that time,” Budke added.
“We have had several calls for service dating to 2003,” Wright County Sheriff Sean Derringer said during a press conference on Tuesday.
His criminal record includes several arrests for driving while intoxicated and possession of small amounts of marijuana between 2004 and 2014, including two convictions for gross misdemeanor drunken driving that resulted in jail time.
“The history we have with this individual makes it most likely that this incident was targeted at that facility or at someone within that facility,” Budke said. “None of the information that 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 attempted to give treatment.”
Authorities believe it was an isolated event and that the gunman acted alone. However, there doesn’t appear to be “any nexus with any type of domestic terrorism,” according to Budke.
“There’s certainly a history of him being unhappy with the health care that he received,” Budke said. “There’s also, within that history, nothing to indicate that we would’ve been in the situation that we are at today.”
A Suspicious Package
Authorities also found possible explosives at the scene.
During a press conference on Tuesday, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz described the incident as a shooting with “some improvised explosive devices” discovered at the scene. The Minneapolis Bomb Squad is currently investigating the suspicious package left at the facility, according to Deringer.
Sheriff Deringer says officials received word that Budke was staying at a local Super 8 motel prior to the incident. After a thorough search, they found “additional suspicious devices” and the motel was quickly evacuated.
Gov. Walz urged patience as authorities continue their investigation: “At this time, it appears like it was a single individual. And, again, too early to tell motives or reasons why.”
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey referred to the shooting as an “unspeakable depravity” Tuesday on social media.
“Those who have stepped up and risked their own health for ours. Our first responders are on their way to the scene to help,” Frey tweeted. “Today Minneapolis stands with our neighbors in Buffalo.”
“Our hearts were broken,” Allina Health said in a prepared statement Tuesday night. “The Wright County Sheriff’s Office is leading the ongoing investigation, and we are assisting in any way we can. Right now, our focus is on supporting our staff, their families, and our patients.”
Healthcare workers are all too familiar with the threats of violence, but considering the divisive nature of everything that’s going on in the news, some providers are worried it could happen again.
“As caretakers of victims of gunshots and other violent injuries, nurses and healthcare workers are acutely aware that violence could easily come to the doors of their workplace too,” the Minnesota Nurse Association said. “Seeing other workers become victims shakes any hospital worker to their core.”
One person died at Hennepin County Medical Center, while three others remain in critical but stable condition at North Memorial Health Hospital. One person has already been discharged from the hospital.