A police officer, a doctor and a pharmaceutical assistant have died after a shooting on Monday afternoon at Chicago’s Mercy Hospital, said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
The gunman, who was in a relationship with the one of the victims, also died, said Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson. It’s not clear if he died from police gunfire or a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Chicago police identified the deceased officer as Samuel Jimenez, a father of three. He joined the force in February 2017 and had recently completed probationary training and become a full-fledged officer, Johnson said.
“What I would ask is that you keep all the victims of today’s horrific incident in your thoughts and prayers,” Johnson said.
How the shooting unfolded
Around 3:30 p.m., the gunman approached one of the female victims – a hospital employee – in the parking lot, Johnson said. As they started arguing, a friend of the woman attempted to intervene.
The gunman lifted his shirt and revealed a handgun, prompting the friend to flee. Two 911 calls in rapid succession reported an assault and then gunshots, Johnson said.
When officers responded to the scene, the gunman opened fire on them before they could exit their vehicle. Officers followed him into the hospital and exchanged gunfire with him, Johnson said.
During the shootout, Jimenez was fatally wounded along with a hospital employee as she exited an elevator.
The officers “saved a lot of lives because we just don’t know how much damage he was prepared to do,” Johnson said of the gunman.
“I don’t even have words”
Police secured the hospital and patients are safe, the hospital said.
The incident drew large numbers of law enforcement and emergency responders. Vehicles with flashing lights cordoned off the blocks around the busy medical center.
Witness Steven White told CNN’s Ryan Young that he was in the emergency room when he saw the shooter firing at police.
“We heard some shots, so we all ran to the emergency window, we see this guy out there, military style, shooting at the police – pow, pow, pow,” he said.
When White looked outside, he said he saw a person lying on the ground by the main entrance. The shooter turned around and opened fire again before running inside the main entrance.
“I don’t even have words to say how I was feeling,” White said. “It’s sad, you can’t even come to the hospital for treatment.”
At least 15 medic units were sent to Mercy Hospital, said Chicago Fire Department Public Information Officer Larry Merritt.
Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois thanked law enforcement members for their response.
“My heart is with Mercy Hospital in Chicago tonight. I am praying for the victims, their families and those who were injured during the shooting this afternoon. And, I am extremely grateful to the Chicago Police Department who responded with bravery,” he said on Twitter.