One dead, 4 wounded in a shooting at a Minnesota health clinic

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A 67-year-old man is dissatisfied with the health care he received. He opened fire on a clinic, killing one person and wounding four others, and bomb technicians were investigating a suspicious device left there and others in a hotel he was staying in, authorities said.

The five victims were taken to hospital, and a hospital spokeswoman confirmed one death. Three of them remained in stable but critical condition, and a fourth was discharged from hospital.

The attack took place at the Alina Clinic in Buffalo, a community of about 15,000 people 40 miles (64 kilometers) northwest of Minneapolis. Authorities said Gregory Paul Ulrich from Buffalo opened fire on the facility and was arrested before noon.

Although police said it was too early to tell if Ulrich targeted a particular doctor, court records show that he at one point received an order not to contact a man whose name matches the name of a doctor at the clinic.

While authorities searched the clinic for more victims, they found the suspicious device and evacuated the building, said Shawn Deringer, Wright County Sheriff.

It was not immediately clear if the device had exploded, but television footage showed several shattered glass windows in the clinic. Deringer said suspicious devices were also found in a local Super 8 hotel Ulrich was staying, and there were also at least two broken windows.

Hennepin County Medical Center spokeswoman Christine Hill said Tuesday evening that a person who was taken to hospital after being shot at the Buffalo Clinic has died. Hill said she could not reveal any other details.

Police Chief Pat Bodek became emotional and had to pause during a press conference where he told reporters, “Our hearts break as a society.” Although the exact motive was not immediately known, Budky said Ulrich has a long history of conflict with healthcare clinics in the area.

Bodky said: “All I can say is, it is a history spanning several years, and there is definitely a history of being dissatisfied with healthcare … with the health care that he was getting.”

Budke said Ulrich’s history led investigators to believe he was targeting the clinic or someone inside, but that it is too early for an investigation to know if he was a specific doctor. He said the shooting did not appear to be a case of internal terrorism.

“None of the information we got from our previous contact with him indicates that he was dissatisfied or would direct his anger towards anyone other than those inside the facilities where he was treated or where they tried to provide treatment,” Budak said.

Deringer said Ulrich was well known to law enforcement before the attack, and there were calls for the service dating back to 2003.

Ulrich’s Special Court records list just a few arrests and convictions for drunk driving and possession of small amounts of marijuana from 2004 through 2015, mostly in Wright County, including two convictions for drunk driving that resulted in short prison sentences. The 2018 charge of violating the harassment restriction order was dismissed last April when the attorney general said Ulrich was “found mentally incapable to go forward”.

An order issued in 2018 and 2019 in the harassment case showed that Ulrich had no contact with any man. The order did not identify this man other than mentioning his name, but the name appears to match the name of a doctor on the clinic’s personnel list.

It was not known if this doctor was among Ulrich’s victims. A phone call made to the doctor’s home list has not been answered.

The court services agent who conducted a pre-ruling investigation wrote in a file in June 2019 that he had just learned that Ulrich had applied to the police for a “purchase permit” – apparently meaning a permit to purchase a weapon – but that he had not yet agreed. The agent said he “strongly recommended” that Ulrich “not be permitted to” use or possess any dangerous weapons or firearms as a condition of surveillance. “

Ulrich also raised concerns about a local church. According to the August 2019 update on the website of the Zion Lutheran Church, the church obtained a non-trespassing order after Ulrich’s property after the pastor received a disturbing letter. Church staff were given a photo of Ulrich and asked to call 911 if it appeared on any of Zion’s possessions.

The FBI dispatched explosives technicians to the scene, and the Minneapolis Police Department dispatched its bomb squad. Members of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Law Enforcement Group and special agents from the State Criminal Detention Office also responded.

The clinic is located on the edge of Buffalo near an old red, peeled paint barn. Dozens of emergency vehicles and law enforcement officers with rifles were stationed at the scene. Television footage showed little activity at the clinic itself.

Hours after the attack, law enforcement cordoned off a small caravan home park near Pulaski Lake in the city, about a mile from the clinic, and searched the caravan that Ulrich had been living in. Officers entered and exited the house, wearing rubber gloves. Several neighbors who refused to be named described Ulrich as controversial and said they tried to avoid him.

Tom Potter, a 43-year-old who lives in the neighborhood, said Ulrich was kind to the Potter children but described him as a “weird guy.”

“He was fighting with the neighbors, accusing them of stealing things,” Potter said.

He said Ulrich spent a lot of time on a lake-side bench, listening to the radio, fishing and “always drinking.”

Another neighbor, Walter Rudd, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that he was shocked to learn that Ulrich was suspected of shooting people. He said Ulrich helped him build a shed during the summer and would often come to sit in the ring of fire in the evening to chat.

“I just knew him as a nice old man,” said Rudd.

Rudd said Ulrich is unemployed and with a disability.

Most of the physicians listed on the clinic’s website are family practitioners. It was not immediately clear if the clinic was giving COVID-19 vaccines. Allina’s website says it gives snapshots to employees and older patients at only three locations across its comprehensive system.

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