Just when the nation is still trying to get its head around yesterday's horror in Connecticut, we find out that we narrowly avoided another tragedy early this morning--this time in Birmingham. An unidentified gunman barged into St. Vincent's Hospital in Birmingham at around 4 am this morning and shot two hospital employees and a Birmingham police officer before being killed by police.
The situation is under control and the hospital is secure and stable," said Liz Moore, Vice President of Marketing and Communications. "There are no interruptions to any patient care services at this time."In other words--we're very lucky the police got there as fast as they did. Otherwise, we could be talking about the second mass shooting in less than 24 hours.
According to Sgt. Johnny Williams, public information officer for the Birmingham Police Department, officers received a call from within the hospital at approximately 4 a.m. Two officers who patrol the South precinct responded to a gunman on the fifth floor. The officers arrived through two different corridors.
The suspect used a handgun and motive for the shooting is unclear at this time, said Williams.
"They engaged the suspect as they exited the elevator," he said. "The suspect opened fire on the officer. He wounded that officer and two other employees here at the hospital. The second responding officers returned gunfire, fatally wounding the suspect."
According to WBRC-TV in Birmingham, the officer and the employees are OK. They're at UAB Hospital with non life-threatening injuries.
The Birmingham News reports that the suspect was a disgruntled husband who had been kicked out of the hospital earlier that night after becoming belligerent about his wife's care. He briefly took a security guard hostage before being confronted by police.
Like I said earlier, this could have gotten ugly and fast had police not arrived.
12:22 PM PT: I was in a hurry to get this off, so I forgot to mention that I saw this story via fellow Kossack Scottie Thomaston on my Facebook newsfeed. So needless to say, this is probably hitting way too close to home for the Alabamians on here.
Unfortunately, just one day after the mass shooting in Connecticut, the City of Birmingham, Alabama experienced its own violent act at St. Vincent’s Hospital. My thoughts and prayers are with the wounded officer, employees and patients that may have been affected. I applaud the Birmingham Police Department, its officers and the hospital's security personnel for their courageous efforts to take down the suspect and prevent a catastrophic event. Too many of these tragic events are happening across this country and I look forward to doing all that I can to prevent them from happening again.