A doctor who had lost his job at a New York hospital opened fire with an assault rifle inside the building on Friday, killing another physician and wounding six other people before taking his own life in a burst of apparent workplace-related violence, officials said.
The shooter, wearing a white medical coat, stalked two floors of the Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center, in the New York borough of the Bronx, and tried to set himself on fire before police searching the building found him dead of a self-inflicted gunshot, New York Police Commissioner James O’Neill said.
One female physician was shot to death and six other people were wounded, five seriously, including one who was shot in the leg, O’Neill said at a news conference.
The shooting was an “isolated incident” that appeared to be “a workplace-related matter,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said, adding that it was “not an act of terrorism.”
The shooter was armed with an assault rifle, O’Neill said.
Neither the mayor nor police immediately identified the suspect or any of the victims.
O’Neill said the shooter was a former employee of the 972-bed hospital.
In an interview with WABC News, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz identified the shooter as Henry Bello and said he had been fired by the hospital.
Other media reports said Bello was 45 years old.
The New York Times and the New York Daily News reported, citing unnamed sources, that Bello had resigned from the hospital rather than face termination over accusations of sexual harassment.
Bello had received a limited permit to practice as an international medical graduate in order to gain experience so he could be fully licensed, but that permit expired one year ago, the Times reported, adding that he also had a pharmacy technician license from California.
The Daily News said he had been a pharmacy tech at the hospital before he quit in 2015.
Bello, a Nigerian, earned a medical degree from Dominica’s Ross University and later worked briefly as a pharmacy technician for Metropolitan Hospital Center in Manhattan in 2012, according to David Wims, a lawyer who represented Bello in an unemployment insurance claim against that hospital.
Details about the shooting were still sketchy.
Authorities said the rampage unfolded shortly before 3pm when the shooter went on a rampage on the 16th and 17th floors of the hospital.
He and the slain physician were both found on the 17th floor, while the six other victims were found on the 16th floor, O’Neill said.
The incident sent waves of panic throughout the hospital, and police swarmed the building searching for the shooter.
Adding to the pandemonium was the shooter’s attempt to set himself ablaze, which apparently triggered the hospital’s fire alarm system and halted elevator service, hampering efforts by first responders to reach victims and evacuate the building.
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