Physician told 911 she feared for her life before Chicago hospital shooting

A physician killed during a shooting incident at Chicago-based Mercy Hospital & Medical Center Nov. 19 reportedly called police before the shooting occured, telling officers she feared for her life, the Chicago Police Department said Nov. 29, according to WTHR 13.

On Nov. 19, 32-year-old Juan Lopez confronted emergency room physician Tamara O'Neal, MD, outside of Mercy Hospital. Dr. O'Neal had recently called off her engagement with Mr. Lopez. Police said when he confronted her, Mr. Lopez asked for the engagement ring back. Shortly after, witnesses told police they heard gunfire.

One witness told reporters at the time that he saw Dr. O'Neal fall to the ground, after which the suspected shooter "stood over her and shot her three more times," according to an Associated Press report cited by WTHR 13. The suspected shooter proceeded to shoot at police officers in a squad car that pulled up to the hospital before running inside the facility. Chicago police officer Samuel Jimenez was shot and killed during the altercation.

A second witness told police she heard Mr. Lopez jiggle the handle of the locked door to the pharmacy she was barricaded inside of. The suspected shooter fired more shots inside the facility, fatally shooting first-year pharmacy resident Dayna Less.

During the exchange of gunfire inside the facility, Mr. Lopez was reportedly shot in the abdomen, but died as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot to the head.

Police said they did not find any indication Mr. Lopez had a criminal record. However, several reports indicate he was dismissed from the Chicago firefighting academy in 2014 after threatening a female cadet, and that a former girlfriend sought a restraining order against him that same year.

Investigators discovered Mr. Lopez had a permit to possess a concealed firearm, but it was unclear if officials were aware of the 2014 incidents when the permit was granted. A Chicago police department spokesperson said Mr. Lopez purchased four guns during the past five years.

To access the full report, click here.

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