Hospital Shooting Blamed on Broken Engagement

Witness says gunman demanded a ring back before shooting doctor in Chicago
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 20, 2018 11:50 AM CST
Hospital Shooting Blamed on Broken Engagement
Police salute as an ambulance arrives at the medical examiner's office carrying the body of Chicago Police Department Officer Samuel Jimenez, who was killed during a shooting at Mercy Hospital earlier in the day, Monday, Nov. 19, 2018, in Chicago.   (Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune via AP)

(Newser) – Monday's deadly shooting at a Chicago hospital appears to have been over a broken engagement, reports the Chicago Tribune. Police say gunman Juan Lopez, 32, shot ER doctor Tamara O'Neal, 38, multiple times in a parking lot outside Mercy Hospital & Medical Center, then exchanged gunfire with arriving officers before running into the hospital. Lopez and O'Neal had been engaged, but it was called off in September, reports WLS. Details:

  • A witness: A person who was in a van with other patients in the parking lot witnessed the shooting, reports WGN. O'Neal "got on the phone and she was trying to call the police," the witness tells the TV station. "She asked us not to leave her alone because he is going to kill her." After the man demanded a ring back and O'Neal said she didn't have it, he began shooting her, says the witness.
  • 2 more killings: Police say Lopez fatally shot Officer Samuel Jimenez, 28, in the hospital lobby and then first-year pharmacy resident Dayna Less, 25. Jimenez had been on the force less than two years and was married with a wife and three children, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. Less was a Purdue graduate who started at the hospital in July, per the BBC. "That woman got off an elevator and was shot, why?" asked Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson.
  • Close call: During the gun battle, Lopez shot at another officer, but the bullet struck the officer's holster and lodged in his gun, reports WGN. The officer was not injured. See the amazing image here.

  • The gunman: Lopez was found inside the hospital with a gunshot to the head, but it was still unclear whether he killed himself or was shot by police.
  • Restraining order: Police say that an unidentified woman sought a restraining order against Lopez in 2014 because he refused to stop texting her, reports the AP. Lopez was never charged, and it's unclear whether the order was granted. Lopez had a permit to a carry a concealed weapon and had legally bought four guns in the last five years.
  • A drill: The hospital had undergone an active-shooter drill less than two weeks ago, reports CBS Chicago. "But obviously never in our wildest imagination would we ever think that we would ever have to experience it," said Dr. Michael Davenport, chief medical officer at Mercy.
  • Line of duty: "There's no doubt in my mind that all those officers who responded saved a lot of lives because we just don't know how much damage he was prepared to do," says Johnson. Jimenez is the second Chicago officer killed in the line of duty this year, per the Tribune.
(In the recent Thousand Oaks shooting, a former coach of the gunman says warnings were ignored.)

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