BUFFALO, Minn. Feb 11 2021— A spokesperson with Hennepin Healthcare confirmed that one of the people injured in Tuesday’s shooting at a health clinic in Buffalo has died. The victim, who has not yet been identified, was transported to HCMC where they later died.
North Memorial Health said four of the Buffalo shooting victims were taken to North Memorial Hospital. A hospital spokesperson said one of the victims had been discharged by Tuesday afternoon, while three others are in critical, but stable, condition.
Buffalo Police Chief Pat Budke fought back tears as he gave more details about the shooting at a 2 p.m. news conference. He said initial information shows that the clinic may have been targeted specifically, and that the shooting was an “isolated” incident.
Buffalo police, Wright County sheriff’s deputies and area SWAT teams were dispatched to the Allina Clinic at 755 Crossroads Campus Drive at 10:54 a.m. on reports of multiple shots fired. The Wright County Sheriff’s Office says “several people” were transported to area hospitals for injuries suffered in the incident.
Officers who arrived on scene located multiple victims and the suspect, who was taken into custody. Wright County Sheriff Sean Deringer identified the suspect as Gregory Paul Ulrich, a 67-year-old man from Buffalo.
“Those officers immediately then began to render aid to the injured,” Budke said.
Buffalo Hospital president Kelly Spratt confirmed at the news conference that five people were hospitalized. Four went to North Memorial, and one went to HCMC. Spratt said two people were first brought to Buffalo Hospital, but the other three left for metro hospitals directly from the scene due to the level of injury.
Budke said Ulrich has had contact with the health care community in Buffalo and has lived there for a long time
“It’s a history that spans several years and there certainly is a history of him being unhappy with the health care that he received,” Budke said.
Wright County Sheriff Sean Deringer said that Ulrich is “no stranger to law enforcement” and has been involved in multiple calls for service.
“There is no information at this time that leads us to believe that there is any nexus with domestic terrorism,” Budke added. “We are very familiar with the suspect.”
Deringer said that when his deputies responded to the clinic, “It was a horrible-looking scene.”
During a secondary search after evacuation, the sheriff said a suspicious package was found in the lobby and the Minneapolis Bomb Squad is currently investigating.
Deringer said after responding to the clinic, they received information that Ulrich was staying at the Super 8 Motel nearby and “out of an abundance of caution” they sent crews over there. He said explosive devices were found there as well, but everyone was safely evacuated.
Deringer said they believe Ulrich acted alone and so there is no search for other suspects and “time is on our side” with the investigation.
“Our heart breaks as a community,” Chief Budke said. “This is a day that no community would want to go through. Especially those staff that were there and of course those that were injured, the families of those that were injured. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.”
Buffalo Mayor Teri Lachermeier called on the community to come together and support one another.
“This doesn’t happen in Buffalo, Minnesota, right?” she said. “Reach out, check on people, make sure they’re OK.”
A woman named Kathy who had just entered the clinic before the shooting started described what happened to KRWC Radio Sport Director Jamie Broman. She said she had just checked in and was walking to take a seat when she heard a man say “get down on the ground.” Kathy said she turned, saw he had a gun, and then “there was screaming and there was shooting.”
Kathy went to hide in the clinic’s coffee nook, and said she then heard more shooting from the back of the clinic. “I didn’t know what to do,” she said tearfully, fighting for words.
She described Ulrich as an older man with gray hair. “I can see his face,” she recalled. Kathy called 911 shortly before the man returned to the front of the building, and called authorities himself. “I heard him say ‘I’m gonna call 911,’ and then he himself called 911. He said ‘there was a shooting, you better send lots of ambulances.'”
“I’ve never, just never experienced anything like this in my life.”
At a COVID-related news conference Tuesday, Gov. Tim Walz addressed what he called the “tragic situation” in Buffalo.
“At this time what we know is that it was an active shooter situation and some improvised explosive devices,” he said.
Walz said he’s spoken with the Department of Public Safety and was told they have a suspect in custody. “At this time it appears that it was a single individual,” he said. “Too early to tell motives or reasons why.”
Walz thanked Buffalo Police, the Wright County Sheriff’s Office and other responding authorities and said “our thoughts and prayers and of course our support” are with them. He said there was also “some early interaction” with FBI and ATF due to the presence of explosives.
Police dispatch audio initially reported 15 shots fired, and later shared an audio clip of an officer reporting as many as five critically wounded. Dispatchers were heard on Broadcastify stating that a male said he had four “homemade explosives” that all went off.
Images from Sky 11 appeared to show some of the windows at the clinic shattered or blown out.
Audio from Broadcastify also indicated that a Super 8 Motel a relatively short distance from the clinic was evacuated, and radio traffic mentioned that “room 110” may have been where the suspect was staying. Dispatchers say suitcases were still inside that room when the building was searched.
Federal authorities confirmed via Twitter that agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms were en route to the scene, responding to reports of an “active shooter situation.” The State Patrol reported that the department’s pilots were flying six boxes of blood from the Red Cross to Buffalo Hospital to be ready for victims of the shooting.
The Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose public schools, with several buildings in the vicinity of the clinic, sent a message home to parents explaining what had unfolded.
“Today there was an emergency situation at Allina Crossroads Clinic that prompted schools in Buffalo to be in lock-down and, at the direction of the Buffalo Police Department, we evacuated students from the two closest schools (Tatanka Elementary STEM School and PRIDE Transitions) to Buffalo High School.
All other schools will dismiss today at their regularly scheduled time. All KidKare sites will be open until 6:30 p.m. Tatanka KidKare students will remain at Buffalo High School until picked up by parents.
The district acted quickly with the help of the Buffalo Police Department and Wright County Sheriff’s Department to make sure that our students are safe and secure. Our thoughts go out to those directly involved with the situation.”
Law enforcement is asking people to stay away from the multiple scenes as investigators and law enforcement personnel from multiple agencies continue to collect evidence and work on the case.