MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Gregory Ulrich, 67, is in custody in connection to Tuesday’s deadly shooting at a Buffalo health clinic.
Five people were shot in the attack at Allina Clinic Crossroads. One of the victims, who was brought to Hennepin Healthcare in Minneapolis, later died from their injuries, according to hospital officials.
The other four victims were brought to North Memorial Health hospital in Robbinsdale. One of the victims was discharged late Tuesday afternoon, while the other three are in critical, but stable, condition. Officials would not confirm if the victims were patients at the clinic or health care employees.
Ulrich, of Buffalo, is being held at the Wright County Jail. Sources tell WCCO he was cooperative once he was in custody, and he spoke to authorities. Sources also say a handgun was used in the deadly shooting.
The sheriff’s office says they first received a report of shots fired at 10:54 a.m. at 755 Crossroads Campus Drive. Scanner audio details the chaos as it was unfolding:
At least 15 shots were fired … just somebody came and started shooting … Looking at least five injured critically … the male said that the gun and a briefcase is in an office by the front desk, he still should be sprawled out on his stomach … we have a rolling shield in the parking lot approaching now. Is there any more mention of that possible explosive?
Buffalo is a city with a population of about 15,000 residents. Mayor Teri Lachermeier told WCCO this kind of thing doesn’t happen in her city, but several law enforcement agencies are now working together to make sure the community feels safe. She spoke briefly to the press, taking on a healing, conciliatory role in the tragedy’s aftermath.
“We’re gonna make it through this. It’s gonna be difficult. This doesn’t happen in Buffalo, Minnesota, right? But we gotta be there for these people that are needing us,” Lachermeier said.
In that same emotional Tuesday afternoon press conference, law enforcement officials said Ulrich was “on their radar,” and they have had on-and-off-again contact with him since 2003. Buffalo Police Chief Pat Budke was visibly shaken as he discussed the scene of multiple shootings at the clinic, saying the suspect has a history of being unhappy with the health care he received.
“The history that we have as a department with this individual makes it most likely that this incident was targeted at this facility or someone within that facility,” Budke said. “He has lived in this community for quite a long time and has had contact with health care within the community during that time.”
Officials believe he acted alone, and they are not looking for additional suspects. They do not believe it to be related to domestic terrorism.
Some witnesses say they heard an explosion during the attack, but investigators haven’t confirmed that. They’re still piecing together what happened inside the clinic before the shooting call came in. A suspicious package was found in the clinic’s lobby after it was evacuated. Wright County Sheriff Sean Deringer said suspicious devices also turned up in a nearby Super 8 motel where the Ulrich was staying. Deringer confirmed deputies got search warrants Tuesday afternoon to search the motel, but he wouldn’t comment more on the investigation.
The Minneapolis Police Department’s bomb squad was brought in, and while investigators appeared to be clear of both locations by late evening, it’s unknown what they determined.
“We’ll rely on the ATF and the Minneapolis bomb squad to tell us when those scenes are secure,” Deringer said. “Our heart goes out to this entire community. We in the law enforcement community don’t wish this upon anyone.”
Chief Budke says there were no explosions after police arrived, but he didn’t rule out that there could have been one earlier
During a previously-scheduled news conference Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Tim Walz said he received a briefing from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension within the hour of the shooting. He communicated with Mayor Lachermeier about the developments, and thanked all of those partners for their response.
“At this point in time we have a community traumatized. We have families of the workers who are there unsure of what’s happening. We know to get that information as quickly as possible,” Walz said. “I want to just extend heartfelt prayers and thoughts to those folks and a heartfelt thanks to the Buffalo Police Department and Wright County Sheriffs who responded. From everything I’m hearing in this, [they responded] in an incredibly-fast manner.”
An official close to Walz tells WCCO the governor is letting local officials and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety take the lead on this, and he will get a formal briefing Tuesday night from those law enforcement partners.
Ulrich’s ‘Combative’ History With The Community
WCCO visited the neighborhood where Ulrich lived until last week. Neighbors there were used to police coming to look for him, and many of them were evacuated Tuesday as a precaution. Sheriff’s deputies, ATF agents and others surrounded his former home. K-9 officers were also seen going inside.
Former neighbor Benjamin Thompson calls Ulrich combative, and said he liked to argue about almost anything.
“A number of times [police would come] knocking and asking for him when he wasn’t home,” Thompson said. “His demeanor was very self-righteous, his demeanor was very, he definitely always talked like he was a victim.”
He also said there had been a sign outside Ulrich’s home, and he now wishes he asked more questions about its origin.
“It was handwritten, it said ‘Allina Crooks’ in letters big enough across the top that you could read from a car driving by,” Thompson said. “The smaller message had a statement about one particular doctor.”
Ulrich’s criminal history in Wright County shows he’s been convicted of DWI three times. And WCCO has learned police suggested Zion Lutheran Church get a restraining order against Ulrich after he sent a threatening letter. The church reports no contact with him before or after the letter.
The church held a virtual service Tuesday night to pray for healing for the community, and Ulrich.
CBS News reports Ulrich is expected to appear in court Thursday at 10:30 a.m.
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