Police Officer, Doctor, Pharmacist Identified as Victims of Shooting at Chicago's Mercy Hospital - NBC Chicago

Police Officer, Doctor, Pharmacist Identified as Victims of Shooting at Chicago's Mercy Hospital

Mercy Hospital Officials: 'We Step Up to the Plate'

Officials from Mercy Hospital speak hours after two of their own were killed in a shooting along with a responding police officer after a gunman opened fire in the building. 

(Published Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018)

What to Know

  • A Chicago police officer and two hospital employees died in a shooting Monday at Mercy Hospital. The suspected shooter also was killed.

  • The incident began with an altercation in the hospital parking lot, police said, where the suspect fatally shot a doctor he knew.

  • The gunman ran into the hospital. A pharmacist was shot in an elevator, and the officer was struck in the exchange of gunfire.

The emergency room at Chicago's Mercy Hospital and Medical Center reopened Tuesday afternoon, hours after a shooting there claimed the lives of a Chicago police officer, a doctor and a pharmacist.

"Today we mourn the loss of our colleagues and friends," said Michael Davenport, chief medical officer at the hospital.

As the doors to the emergency room prepared to open, Davenport said the hospital was already functioning at near-capacity. 

Some portions of the first floor, particularly the area where the shooting took place, remained closed Tuesday due to "issues with the presence of the environment and how people would react to it." 

Doctor Killed in Hospital Shooting Had 'Heart of Gold'

[CHI] Doctor Killed in Hospital Shooting Had 'Heart of Gold'
A Chicago doctor shot and killed Monday afternoon by a gunman at Mercy Hospital and Medical Center has been identified by family members as Dr. Tamara O'Neal, a devoted physician who "loved helping people." Natalie Martinez reports.
(Published Monday, Nov. 19, 2018)

Less than 24 hours earlier, a gunman opened fire at the hospital, killing a doctor in the parking lot before entering the building and fatally shooting a pharmacist and Chicago police officer. 

"It's with profound sadness that we share the death of PO Samuel Jimenez from tonight's senseless active shooter incident," police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tweeted Monday. "Please pray for his family, his fellow officers & the entire #ChicagoPolice Department."

The doctor killed was identified as Dr. Tamara O'Neal, 38, remembered by loved ones as a dedicated emergency room physician who "loved helping people" and "had a heart of gold."

Authorities identified the pharmacist who was killed as 24-year-old Dr. Dayna Less, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office.

"She loved helping others. She was good at her job because it helped others. She was forged in her own adversity which made her the strongest person I will ever know," her family said in a statement. 

Both O'Neal and Less graduated from Purdue University. 

Witness on Shooting at Mercy Hospital: 'Shooting Random'

[CHI] 'Just Started Shooting': Witness Describes Shooting at Mercy Hospital

James Gray, who witnessed the shooting unfold at Mercy Hospital in Chicago, describes what he saw. Police say multiple people, including a police officer and the possible gunman, were shot. 

(Published Monday, Nov. 19, 2018)

"We are proud of Tamara and Dayna for the lives of service they chose to pursue. We are deeply grateful and admiring of officer Jimenez for his sacrificial bravery that spared other innocent lives," Purdue President Mitchell E. Daniels Jr. said in a statement. 

Chicago police Supt. Eddie Johnson said the shooting - in which the gunman was also killed - began at around 3:28 p.m. in the parking lot, then continued inside the hospital lobby.

The shooter has been identified as 32-year-old Juan Lopez, according to police, who said he was in a domestic relationship with O'Neal.

O'Neal was leaving after her shift, according to the hospital, when Johnson said she and Lopez got into a verbal altercation in the parking lot.

A friend tried to intervene in the argument, Johnson said, and Lopez lifted his shirt and displayed a handgun. The friend fled into the hospital, and witnesses said they saw Lopez shoot O'Neal at least six times in the parking lot.

As police arrived at the scene, Johnson said Lopez shot at officers before they exited their cars, and then ran into the hospital, where he and police engaged in an exchange of gunfire.

During the exchange, Less was exiting an elevator when she was fatally shot, Johnson said.

Jimenez, 28, was also shot in the exchange and taken in critical condition to the University of Chicago Hospital. He later died from his wounds.

"This tears at the soul of our city," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. "It is the face and the consequence of evil."

Detectives worked overnight to process the scene, with bullet holes and shell casings visible, surrounding one Chicago police SUV.

Mercy Hospital officials said it held its first active shooter drill one month prior, and praised the staff's response.

"We work in trained circumstances, we deal with death and family deaths on a daily basis. There’s no way we can prepare for this, there’s no way we can adjust for it, but we step up to the plate when it happens," said Patrick Connor, chairman and emergency department manager. "We take care of our patients, we take care of our staff. This is just a tragedy." 

The incident remained under investigation Tuesday. The hospital said it plans to evaluate its security protocol once the investigation is complete. 

"Our employees did a magnificent job," Davenport said. "We’re very proud of what they did." 

Get the latest from NBC Chicago anywhere, anytime

  • Download the NBC Chicago App

    Download the App

    Available for iOS and Android

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS