A man went on a shooting rampage at Mercy Hospital & Medical Center in Chicago on Monday afternoon — killing his ex-fiancee, as well as a police officer and a nearby pharmacy technician.
The gunman, Juan Lopez, and a woman who recently broke off an engagement with him, Dr. Tamara O’Neal, an emergency room doctor, argued in the parking lot, according to authorities. After a friend tried to intervene, Lopez “lifted up his shirt and displayed a handgun,” said Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson. The friend ran back into the hospital to get help, and the gunfire began shortly thereafter.
O’Neal was the first person he shot before he opened fire on a pharmacy technician, Dayna Less, and a police officer, Samuel Jimenez, who showed up on the scene even though the hospital was outside of his district. The gunman is also dead, but Chicago police did not immediately know how he died, according to Cox Media Group.
O’Neal ended her engagement with the suspect in September, Chicago police said.
Her colleague, Dr. John Purakal, tweeted, “I knew her, trained with her, saved lives with her and tonight, tried to save her life. Tonight, I broke down in front of my coworkers when we lost her, and tonight I held hands with her mother in prayer. Tonight, we lost a beautiful, resilient, passionate doc. Keep singing, TO.”
Another colleague, LaToya Woods-Coleman, told Tia Ewing, reporter at Fox32 News, “She was personable and was always willing to go that ‘extra’ mile for our patients.”
O’Neal was also an after school tutor and mentor to students in sixth through 12th grade.
A sizable share of mass shootings stem from some kind of intimate partner violence. A majority of mass shootings as defined by Everytown for Gun Safety — which is an incident where four or more people, not including the shooter, are killed with a gun — target the shooter’s current or former partner or a family member. When looking at incidents involving only four victims, the overwhelming majority are incidents with evidence of domestic violence. Most of these mass shootings happen in the home, but they also happen at work of school.
Research has shown that victims of intimate partner violence are five times more likely to be killed if their partner has access to a gun.
A 2012 paper on workplace homicides found that between 2003 and 2008, 648 women were killed on the job and that 33 percent of these murders were committed by someone of a personal relation, the majority of those relations being intimate partners. Over half of the workplace homicides committed by intimate partners happened in parking lots and public buildings. Although workplace injury fatalities and homicides in particular have fallen since the 1990s, workplace homicides among women were up 13 percent in 2010. Researchers called intimate partner violence “an important public health issue with serious consequences for the workplace.”
The death of O’Neal, a Black woman, is also part of a disturbing prevalence of intimate partner violence against Black women in the United States. According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, more than four in ten Black women have suffered physical violence from an intimate partner, with lower rates for white women, Latinx women, and Asian/Pacific Islander women. Black women also have higher rates of experiencing psychological abuse, such as coercive control, and a particularly high risk of being killed by a man. Nine in 10 Black female murder victims knew the person who killed them.
Violence against and hatred of women is a common connection among mass shooters, even those who did not know their victims. Over and over again, reports on the identities and histories of mass shooters show that many of them have committed domestic violence, emotional abuse, and sexual harassment and violence, and have a hatred of women.