A shooter opened fire Monday afternoon at Chicago’s Mercy Hospital and Medical Center, leaving one police officer and two other people critically wounded. The shooter is dead, NBC News reports.
One witness, James Gray, saw the shooting as it happened. He told news reporters that he saw the suspected gunman speaking to a woman. Then, the shooter pulled out a gun, shot the woman, and began shooting others in the hospital.
“Once he entered, he just started shooting at random,” Gray said.
The hospital was partially evacuated, and on Monday afternoon it was surrounded by law enforcement. Hundreds of vehicles surrounded the hospital, including ambulances, fire trucks, and police cars. Police say that at least four people were injured, including the police officer and one hospital employee, SFGate reported.
Four people are in critical condition following the shooting. Authorities have asked people to stay away from the hospital while they investigate. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms tweeted that their agents responded to the scene, and are helping with the investigation.
The shooting occurred around 3:20 p.m. local time. The wounded police officer is “in critical condition but receiving excellent care,” according to Chicago police spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi, as quoted by the Chicago Tribune.
The hospital announced on Twitter that the premises was secure about an hour later.
BREAKING: Reports of active shooter and multiple victims near Mercy Hospital in Chicago pic.twitter.com/WM9kHsTPqw— CBS News (@CBSNews) November 19, 2018
Witness James Gray said the alleged shooter was dressed in a black coat and hat and dark pants. The woman he was speaking to when he started shooting was shot three times in the chest. Gray said the pair were walking and talking to each other before the gunman started firing.
“It was just mass chaos,” Gray said.
Chicago's Mercy Hospital has been secured, police say, after a shooting that left an officer in critical condition and multiple people injured. The suspect was identified as a 32-year-old man. https://t.co/qMD4UrQN6C pic.twitter.com/NA1JkIYddk— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) November 19, 2018
Another witness, Hector Avitia, said he saw the shooter reload twice as he was “shooting like a maniac.” Like many others, he was forced to hide inside the hospital while the shooter fired at people, seemingly at random.
On November 8, Business Insider reported that there have been 308 mass shootings in the U.S. this year alone. They reported this number after a shooting in Thousand Oaks, California. That was 11 days ago, as of the writing of this piece.
Since then, and counting the Chicago shooting on Monday, that number has risen to at least 311.
As of right now, the identity of the suspected shooter is still unknown. However, early reports say that he was a 32-year-old man, according to Vox. His motives are not known at this time. The identities of the victims, the number of victims and how many people died are all also unknown.