MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Formal charges of murder and attempted murder were filed Thursday morning against Gregory Ulrich, the suspected gunman in the deadly shooting Tuesday at an Allina clinic in Buffalo.
Investigators say Ulrich, 67, of Buffalo, set off two homemade bombs in the clinic and shot five people, leaving four seriously injured and one dead. The violence occurred in the span of about 6 minutes before officers arrived and found him lying face down amid the destruction.
“Gregory Ulrich went to Allina clinic knowing that he was going to shoot up that clinic. Gregory Ulrich went to that clinic knowing he that was going explode bombs at the clinic. He did just that, cowardly injuring innocent people, one of them fatally,” Wright County Attorney Brian Lutes said during a morning news conference.
Ulrich is charged with one count of second-degree intentional murder, four counts of first-degree premeditated attempted murder, one count of discharging an explosive device, and one count of carrying a pistol without a permit in a public place. If convicted of the charges, Ulrich faces decades in prison — 40 years for the second-degree murder charge alone.
Ulrich made his first appearance in Wright County court Thursday morning. In a virtual hearing, the judge ordered that Ulrich’s bail be set at $10 million without conditions and $5 million with conditions. He remains in the Wright County Jail. His next court appearance was set for March 22.
According to the criminal complaint, Ulrich walked into Allina Clinic Crossroads just before 11 a.m. Tuesday and opened fire moments after staff asked if they could help him. First, he shot two people in the reception area. He shot a third person in the back as they tried to run away.
The fourth victim was shot six times, with the bullets striking their chest, abdomen, back, and arms. The fifth victim was shot in the abdomen, with the bullet hitting their liver and spine.
Responding officers and clinic staff quickly rendered aid to the victims. One of them, who was shot in the spine, died Tuesday after being transferred to Hennepin Healthcare in Minneapolis. Another was discharged Tuesday from a different Twin Cities hospital. The three other victims are recovering at North Memorial Health Hospital, where as of Thursday morning one victim was in fair condition and two others were in good condition.
Friends of the deceased victim identified her as 37-year-old Lindsay Overbay, a medical assistant at the clinic and a mother of two young children. It’s yet unknown if the other victims were hospital staff or patients.
During the shooting, Ulrich set off two improvised explosive devices, which investigators say he made using black powder encased in a cylinder structure with a fuse. A third such device was found in the briefcase Ulrich brought to the hospital along with the handgun he was not permitted to carry in public. A fourth undetonated bomb was found Wednesday night inside the clinic.
One of the bombs exploded near the clinic’s main door, shattering the glass and blowing a large hole through the metal frame. The second bomb exploded near a desk in the clinic, causing what the complaint describes as “significant damage.” Ulrich also used his gun to shoot out the windows in the building’s lobby.
Surveillance video from a Trailblazer Transit vehicle showed Ulrich being dropped off at the hospital at 10:52 a.m. Two minutes later, authorities received calls about the shooting and explosions. At 10:58 a.m., Ulrich called authorities himself, saying that he would surrender. Police used a squad car to shield themselves as they approached the clinic. Inside, they found him lying down with his arms stretched out.
Searches conducted at Ulrich’s previous address at a Buffalo mobile home park and the Super 8 motel where he had been recently staying produced ammunition and a pound of gunpowder consistent with the type used in the homemade bombs. On his phone, investigators found a video of Ulrich rambling about abut the clinic, perhaps referencing his plan to attack.
Ulrich had made past threats against the hospital, according to court documents. A Buffalo police report filed in 2018 showed that he called a doctor and spoke about getting revenge against the hospital, detailing mass violence such as shooting people and blowing things up. He said that he wanted the violence to be “sensational.”
The doctor told investigators that he believed Ulrich was a threat to himself and others. A restraining order was filed against him. Ulrich told investigators that he was “tortured” by the hospital, referring to his back surgery and resulting medication issues.
Ulrich’s former roommate, Raymond Zandstra, told WCCO-TV that Ulrich became addicted to pain medication and was furious when Allina cut him off. “He hated the doctor. He hated the clinic, he didn’t like Buffalo hospital,” Zandstra said.
Police reports also show dozens of police contacts with Ulrich from 2006 through 2020. They range from possession of marijuana to being in a park after hours and trespassing. In many reports, Ulrich spoke of back pain, wanting medication or looking for a prescription.”
In the Thursday morning news conference, Wright County Sheriff Sean Deringer was asked if the restraining order against Ulrich would bar him from being able to obtain a gun. It would not, he said. In that same press conference, the county attorney said that his office hadn’t dealt with Ulrich since 2006, when he was convicted of a DWI. He said that the 2018 restraining order was a misdemeanor and would have been handled at the city level.
“There has been nothing recent in the last several months or even the last year that we would have been aware of where we would have taken immediate action,” Deringer said.
Deringer said that the investigation into the shooting and how Ulrich was able to obtain weapons remains ongoing with dozens of investigators from multiple agencies, including the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the ATF, and the FBI. Anyone with information on the shooting or Ulrich is asked to call a tip line at 763-682-7733.
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