BUFFALO, Minn. (NewsNation Now) — One person is dead after five people were shot in an attack at a Minnesota health clinic on Tuesday. A 67-year-old local man was arrested at the scene.
The five people were taken to hospitals after the attack at the Allina clinic in Buffalo, a community of about 15,000 people roughly 40 miles northwest of Minneapolis.
A hospital spokesperson told NewsNation one of the five injured has died. Three victims are in critical but stable condition at North Memorial Health Hospital and another has been discharged.
The alleged shooter was identified as Gregory Paul Ulrich, of Buffalo. Wright County Sheriff Sean Deringer said Ulrich was well-known to authorities before the attack.
“We have had several calls for service dating to 2003,” Deringer said.
Police Chief Pat Budke said his department and area health care clinics have a history of conflict with Ulrich, which leads investigators to believe he was targeting the clinic or someone inside. But he said it was too early in the investigation to know if a specific doctor was targeted.
“None of the information that we have from our past contact with him would indicate that he was unhappy with, or would direct his anger at, anyone other than people within the facilities where he had been treated or where they had attempted to give treatment,” Budke said, noting that it didn’t appear to be a case of domestic terrorism.
Authorities said Ulrich was staying at a Super8 Motel in Buffalo at the time and additional “suspicious devices” were found in his room. The motel was subsequently evacuated.
NewsNation spoke with Ulrich’s brother, Richard, who had just learned of the shooting Tuesday evening. Following a back surgery two years ago, Gregory Ulrich’s doctors prescribed an opioid painkiller, Richard Ulrich said. Ulrich last spoke with his brother two months ago and said the doctors had recently stopped prescribing the medication.
“I think people deserve to know what happened here,” Richard Ulrich said. “I don’t know anything for sure of course but that’s my best guess, he was mad at the doctors for not giving the opioids.”
Before his back surgery, Ulrich never struggled with opioids but he did battle a drinking problem, his brother said. Minnesota court records detailed several DWIs associated with Gregory Ulrich.
Ulrich is expected to appear in court Thursday morning, according to Wright County Attorney Brian Lutes.
Gov. Tim Walz said at a news conference that “some improvised explosive devices” were part of the attack, though he didn’t say whether any were detonated.
“At this time it appears it was a single individual,” Walz said. “Again, (it’s) too early to tell motives or reasons why.”
Police Chief Pat Budke told TV station KSTP that the shooting happened inside the Allina Clinic Crossroads campus. He said the situation was contained shortly before noon and that there was no further threat to the public’s safety.
North Memorial Health spokeswoman Abigail Greenheck said multiple victims were brought to its hospital in Robbinsdale. She did not say how many or what condition they were in. Allina Health spokesman Timothy Burke declined to say if any victims were brought to its Buffalo hospital.
Allina Health issued the following statement Tuesday to NewsNation:
“Today our hearts are broken. We are a family at Allina Health and this has been an incredibly traumatic day for our entire organization, the patients we serve and the community of Buffalo. Our thoughts are first and foremost with those tragically injured and their loved ones. The Wright County Sheriff’s office is leading this 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. We wish to express our thanks and gratitude to law enforcement, first responders and all those who are sending their thoughts and prayers.”Allina Health
The Minnesota State Patrol tweeted patrol pilots were flying six boxes of blood from the Red Cross to a Buffalo hospital for the victims of the incident.
FBI spokesman Kevin Smith said the agency’s bomb technicians were on their way to the scene, but he could not confirm media reports about a possible bomb or explosion at the clinic.
Members of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms’ enforcement group and special agents from the state’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension were also headed to the scene, spokespeople for the agencies said.
U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., offered prayers for the injured and called for an end to gun violence.
TV helicopter news footage captured nearly two hours after the incident showed no activity at the clinic, but at least three shattered plate-glass windows could be seen on the clinic’s exterior.
Carlos, a manager of a nearby restaurant, sent NewsNation photos from the scene.
He said five nurses came running to the restaurant asking to use his phone. He said they hadn’t seen anything, but needed to inform another one of the organization’s clinics that they were okay.
The Midwest Medical Examiners Office, which handles cases in Wright County, had no comment on whether it had sent anyone to the scene.
A state Department of Public Health spokesman said he didn’t immediately know if the clinic has been administering COVID-19 vaccinations. An Allina spokesman referred all questions to the Buffalo police and the Wright County Sheriff’s Office.