Yesterday afternoon, Mercy Hospital in Chicago was rocked by gunfire. Four people are dead, including the gunman.
Was this a mass shooting or another example of Chicago’s out-of-control problem with violence?
So far, all we know is what has been released by officials to local media. From the Chicago Tribune:
A Chicago police officer and two other people were killed in an attack at a South Side hospital Monday afternoon that sent medical personnel and police scrambling through halls, stairwells and even the nursery in search of victims and the shooter before he was found dead.
Officer Samuel Jimenez, on the force less than two years, was gunned down as he went to the aid of other officers who had been called to Mercy Hospital & Medical Center around 3:20 p.m. about an assault. Jimenez, 28, was married with three small children. He’s the second Chicago police officer killed in the line of duty this year, the most since 2010 when five officers were fatally shot. The first was Near North District Cmdr. Paul Bauer, killed Feb. 13 outside the Thompson Center.
“Those officers that responded today saved a lot of lives,” said Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson. “They were heroes because we just don’t know how much damage (the shooter) was prepared to do.”
Police had been called to the hospital after a gunman confronted his girlfriend, emergency room doctor Tamara O’Neal, apparently over a “broken engagement,” sources said. By the time Jimenez and his partner arrived on the scene, he had shot O’Neal repeatedly, standing over her as he fired the last shots, according to police sources and witnesses.
Also killed in the shooting was 25-year-old pharmacy resident Dayna Less.
We will have to see if the gunman possessed a concealed carry license. If so, this will be the first such shooting to involve a concealed carry holder that I can recall, which will undoubtedly lead to efforts to restrict concealed carry in Illinois in some manner.
Of course, there’s always a chance that this information is inaccurate because the hours after such a shooting are tense and frantic as everyone is trying to gather as much information as humanly possible. In the course of that, some information turns out to be wrong.
Regardless, what we have here is an awful tragedy.
It should be noted that Illinois isn’t exactly a gun-friendly state. While it may have concealed carry, they also require gun owners to have a special ID card just to buy a gun, meaning there are extra layers to lawfully purchasing a firearm.
It also appears that state law declares hospitals as gun free zones. Concealed carry permit or not, he wasn’t lawfully carrying a gun at that moment, that’s for sure.
So it seems that, yet again, gun control laws failed to prevent a horrible tragedy from taking place.