Mercy Hospital held its first-ever active shooter drill just weeks before the shooting Monday that left four people dead – a move that might have prevented even worse carnage, hospital officials said.
The gunman, whom authorities have identified as 32-year-old Juan Lopez, first opened fire outside the hospital, shooting his ex-fiancée, Dr. Tamara O’Neal. The emergency room physician was ending her shift for the day, authorities said.
The suspect then fired at police arriving at the scene before running into the hospital, where he engaged in a gun battle with officers.
Two others – 25-year-old pharmacy resident Dayna Less and 28-year-old Chicago Police Officer Samuel Jimenez – were also fatally shot in the incident.
Michael Davenport, Mercy’s chief medical officer, said the hospital held its first active-shooter drill just weeks ago. Some, but not all, hospital employees participated. The drill was a follow-up on Internet and classroom instruction for employees, Davenport said.
He said it appeared hospital employees executed the “run, hide, fight” instruction.
“Never in our wildest imagination would we ever think that we would have to experience the day we have,” Davenport said. “It is our inclination, I can speak for myself, you don’t feel well when you’re hiding. You want to open up a door and you want to see what’s going on and you want to help. But everyone did what they were trained to do.”
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