Looking for assistance for their medical issues, patients faced gunfire and an exploding bomb at a health clinic in Buffalo, Minnesota this morning.
Local authorities report that up to five people were seriously wounded in the apparently premeditated incident at the Allina Health Clinic and that a male suspect — identified as 67-year-old Gregory Ulrich has been held in custody after the violence.
Buffalo Police Chief Pat Budke and Wright County Sheriff Sean Deringer said that Ulrich was “known” to local police, and was the subject of “several calls for service” dating back to 2003.
“No information that leads us to believe there’s a nexus to domestic terrorism,” Budke said. “We’re very familiar with the suspect,” Budke added, noting he has lived in the Buffalo area “for quite a long time.”
However, Budke said that the “history we have with this individual, makes it most likely that this incident was targeted at that facility or at someone in that facility,” noting that previous calls suggested he was “unhappy with healthcare.”
Initial reports say that police received reports of a “man with a gun” and that “shots were fired.” Also, a dispatcher was heard saying “at least 15 shots were fired…somebody came and started shooting.”
The bombing, which took place about 30 minutes after Ulrich allegedly initially opened fire and wounded his victims, came from homemade explosive devices, and police on the scene are said to have recovered a gun and briefcase that were found in an office by the front desk of the facility.
Audio from police dispatchers paints a picture of a chaotic scene with police requesting that the bomb squad check for any remaining explosive devices.
“’Is there any more mention of that possible explosive?’ an officer said. The response was garbled in the audio. An officer or dispatcher then said that ‘the male was saying he had four homemade explosive devices; they all went off,’” an account of the shooting on Heavy.com reports.
“’We see evidence of that. West glass shattered all across,’ an officer responded. Video from television stations showed shattered windows.”
“’There might be one inside the briefcase by that front office that have not gone off yet,’ an officer or dispatcher responded. ‘We have several victims at the front,’ an officer said. ‘I’ve got four or five with gunshots back here,’ said another officer at the scene.’
The victims of the shooting were transported to various area hospitals as police secured the urgent care clinic and swept the premises for any additional explosive devices.
According to the local newspaper The Star Tribune, the police were also concerned about the possibility that the suspect may have also been behind a bomb threat received by a nearby Super 8 motel.
This is a developing story and more details may be available after a news conference scheduled by local police officials this afternoon.
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Vinnie Longobardo is the Managing Editor of Occupy Democrats. He's a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.