Buffalo, Minnesota shooting: Brother says suspect upset about pain meds

Richard Ulrich told CNN that his 67-year-old sibling, Gregory Ulrich, “just kept bringing up the pain medication he needed and how they wouldn’t give it to him. He just seemed obsessed with that. It did concern me, but you know, I didn’t think he’d do something like this, especially after all this time,” the brother said. “I know that he was upset with (the clinic).

Gregory told him he had conflicts with nurses, “and they said he was addicted, and he said, ‘No, it was just a pain,” Richard said.

His brother never mentioned by name a specific nurse nor doctor at the clinic, Richard Ulrich said.

Richard Ulrich lives in Florida and said he hadn’t spoken to his brother in a few months. Gregory Ulrich, who is unemployed, is not married and does not have any children, his brother said.

After Tuesday morning’s shooting at the Allina Health Care Clinic in the city of Buffalo, police took Gregory Ulrich into custody at the site and found five victims, Chief Pat Budke said.

Sheriff Sean Deringer said he found “a horrible-looking scene” in the clinic, and emergency responders rendered aid and removed the victims, whose identities have not been released.

One died at Hennepin County Medical Center, hospital spokeswoman Christine Hill said. One victim remained in critical condition at North Memorial Health Hospital, two are in fair condition and the fourth person was released on Tuesday.

Ulrich will be charged with second-degree intentional murder, four counts of attempted first-degree premeditated murder and possession of explosive or incendiary devices, Wright County Attorney Brian Lutes said Wednesday.

Ulrich is scheduled to appear in court on Thursday morning, and was being held at the Wright County Jail. It was not clear whether he has an attorney.

Suspect familiar to authorities

The shooting is under investigation, but Budke said the suspect is “very familiar” to law enforcement and had been upset with his health care treatment.

The shooting most likely was “targeted at that facility or someone within that facility,” given the suspect’s alleged history of conflict, Budke said.

“There is a history of him being unhappy with health care — with the health care he received,” Budke said Tuesday.

Officers found a suspicious package in the corner of the health clinic’s lobby, and several suspicious devices at a motel where the suspect was staying, according to Deringer. Authorities haven’t elaborated about them.

Broken hearts

As investigators look into what happened, the city — a community of about 16,000 people roughly a 40-mile drive northwest of Minneapolis — is left to process the threat to a place of care.

Officials for the clinic said the shooting was traumatic.

“Our hearts were broken,” Allina Health said in a statement. “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.”

“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 Nurses Association said. “Seeing other workers become victims shakes any hospital worker to their core.”

Mayor Teri Lachermeier said that officials would be making phone calls to ensure that the mental health of everyone involved is being cared for and that “we’re taking care of those people who are in need of our help.”

Shooting aftermath

Tiffany Politte was in the clinic’s parking lot Tuesday morning, about to drop off her mother, when two nurses came running out, she told CNN affiliate WCCO.

“When we asked them what was wrong, they said, ‘There’s been a shooting,'” Politte told WCCO. “Just (wearing) scrubs — (they had) no phones, nothing. They ran out of there pretty quickly.”

Windows near the front door appeared to be shot out just “after they came out,” Politte said.

“They got out of there just in time,” she told WCCO.

The suspect

Authorities believe Ulrich acted alone and Budke said he didn’t know how many shots were fired.

Here's what we know about the Buffalo, Minnesota, shooting suspect
Deringer, the sheriff, said Ulrich’s history with law enforcement dates to 2003.

The suspect has lived in the community “for quite a long time and has had contact with health care within the community during that time,” Budke said.

Though Ulrich had been unhappy with his health care, “there’s also, within that history, nothing to indicate that we would’ve been in the situation that we are at today,” Budke said.

At this point, nothing leads officials to believe that there is “any nexus with any type of domestic terrorism” connected with the shooting, Budke said.

Asked whether he had a message for the victims, Richard Ulrich said, “I’m just sorry for what happened and just glad (Gregory Ulrich) won’t do anything else anymore.”

CNN’s Adrienne Broaddus and Bill Kirkos reported from Buffalo. CNN’s Madeline Holcombe reported and wrote in Atlanta. CNN’s Jason Hanna, Amir Vera, Eric Levenson, Steve Almasy, Keith Allen and Carma Hassan contributed to this report.

Source link