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Mercy Hospital shooting claims lives of four, including one physician, a pharmacy resident and a police officer

Incident began as a domestic dispute in the hospital parking lot that escalated to gunfire between suspect and police inside the hospital.

Beth Jones Sanborn, Managing Editor

A Chicago hospital became the scene of a deadly shooting Monday, when a domestic dispute that began in the hospital's parking lot erupted into gunfire and went further when the alleged gunman ran into the hospital and opened fire.

Four people are dead. Mercy Hospital identified the hospital employees killed in the shooting as Tamara O'Neal, 38, an emergency room physician, and pharmacy resident Dayna Less, 25, a recent graduate of Purdue University who was studying to be a pharmacist and was a first-year resident training in the hospital. Chicago police Officer Samuel Jimenez was killed. He had joined the force in February 2017, had recently finished his probationary period and was a full-fledged officer. He leaves behind three children, according to reports.

The gunman, identified as Juan Lopez, was also killed. It is unclear whether he was killed by gunfire from police or a self-inflicted wound.

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The incident began with an argument in the parking lot of Mercy Hospital between Lopez and one of the female victims, with whom police said Lopez had a relationship. When a friend of the woman tried to intercede, Lopez revealed he was armed and the friend ran away. Minutes later, 911 calls for an assault and shots fired at the hospital followed.

After firing at arriving officers, Lopez ran into the hospital where gunfire erupted again between police and Lopez. Officer Jimenez and one of the hospital employees were fatally wounded during this exchange.

"Every shooting in America is a tragedy, and it is especially senseless when a shooting occurs in the healing space of a hospital," the hospital said in a statement to CNN.

The Chicago Police Department said on Twitter that Officer Jimenez was "altruism personified."

"Today, we mourn Chicago Police Officer Samuel Jimenez. His heroic actions saved countless lives. He ran toward danger. He ran toward those shots. He ran into fire. Selflessly."

This is not the first time in recent history that a hospital has seen such violence. In 2017, Dr. Henry Bello, a disgruntled former physician wearing a white lab coat, stormed into Bronx Lebanon Hospital in New York City and opened fire, wounding 6 and killing 1 physician before killing himself. According to a New York Times report, Bello had resigned in 2015 after an accusation of workplace harassment was made against him by a fellow physician. The report said Bello had learned he was going to be fired and resigned, accusing the other doctor of trying to get him fired and believing other co-workers had also been involved.

Twitter: @BethJSanborn
Email the writer: beth.sanborn@himssmedia.com