Victims of mass shooting had ties to Indiana
Crusader Staff Report
Two victims who died after a mass shooting at Mercy Hospital in Chicago on Monday, November 19 had ties to Indiana.
Tamara O’Neal, a 38-year-old an emergency medicine physician grew up in Portage, IN, a city that’s nearly 11 miles west of Gary. O’Neal was a resident of La Porte, IN which is 40 miles west of Gary and 69 miles west of Chicago.
O’Neal enrolled at Purdue University, where she initially studied child psychology. She decided to study medicine after taking a course where she held a human brain and found her calling. After she received her bachelor’s degree, O’Neal enrolled in a certificate program at Southern Illinois University before she enrolled in the medical school at University of Illinois at Chicago in 2009, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The other victim, Dayna Less, 25, was a first-year pharmacy resident who recently graduated from Purdue University, whose flagship campus is located in West Lafayette, Indiana. Less lived in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood, located on the city’s West Side.
O’Neal and Less were among three people who were killed by a gunman at Mercy Hospital in Chicago’s historic Bronzeville neighborhood. Chicago Police officer Samuel Jimenez, 28, died later from his injuries at the University of Chicago Medical Center.
The Chicago Police Department identified the shooter as 32-year-old Juan Lopez of Chicago. Lopez also died, but as of Crusader press time, it was not clear if he took his own life or was killed by police at Mercy Hospital.
Jimenez joined the force in February 2017 and recently completed probationary training, becoming a full-fledged officer, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said. Jimenez was married and a father of three children. He is the second police officer to be killed in the line of duty this year.
Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said Jimenez didn’t typically work in the hospital area, but that he responded to provide backup for the other officers who were already on the scene. He said it “speaks volumes about his character.”
The mass shooting occurred as Chicago was preparing for the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend. The shooting rekindled painful memories of Police Commander Paul Bauer who died earlier this year while trying to apprehend a shooter at the James R. Thompson Center in the West Loop. Officer Jimenez is now the second Chicago police officer to be killed in the line of duty in 2018.
“It’s been a tough day for the Chicago Police Department and the City of Chicago,” said Superintendent Johnson during an emotional press conference.
Chicago “lost a doctor, pharmaceutical assistant and a police officer, all going about their day, all doing what they loved,” said an emotional Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “This just tears at the soul of our city. It is the face and a consequence of evil.”
During the press conference, Johnson described how the shooting unfolded around three in the afternoon.
He said there was a domestic dispute in the parking lot at Mercy Hospital. A friend tried to intervene before the gunman shot a female doctor whom he was once engaged to marry. ABC 7 Chicago reported that the dispute was over an engagement ring that Lopez wanted back from O’Neal.
Johnson said the friend tried to intervene before the gunman “lifted up his shirt and displayed a handgun.” Johnson said shots were then fired and O’Neal was left wounded on the ground.
Police came to the scene after a 911 call that alerted them of the shooting. The gunman started firing at them while the police were in their squad cars, police said. The man ran into the hospital as he was chased by police.
“They engaged the offender for several minutes with gunshots being fired” by the offender and by police, Johnson said.
Less, 25, was killed as she was getting off an elevator.
Police scoured the hospital for any other gunmen, and some patients were evacuated to warming buses that were parked along South King Drive on the east side of Mercy Hospital.
Shortly before 5 p.m., Mercy Hospital said it was no longer an active-shooter scene.
A second officer was struck in his gun holster, but was not seriously injured.