Skip to main content

Tulsa Police Identify Suspect in Hospital Shooting Attack as Victim’s Former Patient

Left: Michael Louis (left), via Tulsa Police Department. Right: police respond to the scene of a shooting at the Natalie Building at Saint Francis Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Wednesday, June 1, 2022.

Left: Michael Louis (left), via Muskogee County Sheriff’s Office. Right: police respond to the scene of a shooting at the Natalie Building at Saint Francis Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Wednesday, June 1, 2022. (Photo by J Pat Carter)

Police in Oklahoma say that the gunman who attacked a medical center in Tulsa was determined to kill the surgeon who had operated on him weeks earlier, as well as “anyone who got in his way.”

Michael Louis, 45, shot and killed four people at the St. Francis Hospital on Wednesday.

One of those victims, Dr. Preston Phillips, was an orthopedic surgeon. He had operated on Louis just weeks earlier.

“On May 19, Michael Louis went into the hospital for a back surgery,” Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin said at a press conference Thursday. “The performing physician was Dr. Preston Phillips.”

After being released from the hospital on May 24, Louis “called several times over several days, complaining of pain and wanted additional treatment,” Franklin said.

On Tuesday, Louis apparently did receive treatment from Phillips, but by the next day—Wednesday, the day of the shooting—Louis again called Phillips’ office, Franklin said, “complaining of back pain and wanting additional assistance.”

Meanwhile, as Louis was seeking additional treatment from Phillips, he was also apparently acquiring the weapons he would allegedly use in the attack: Franklin said that on May 29, Louis had purchased a pistol from a local pawn shop, and on June 1, he bought an “AR-15-style” rifle from a local gun dealer.

Louis’ other three victims—Dr. Stephanie Husen, also an orthopedic specialist; Amanda Glenn, a receptionist at the medical center; and William Love, a patient—appear to be collateral damage.

“We have also found a letter on the suspect that made clear that he came in with the intent to kill Dr. Phillips and anyone who got in his way,” Franklin said at the press conference. “He blamed Dr. Phillips for the ongoing pain following the surgery.”

Franklin said that police believe Louis killed himself as police closed in on his location inside the Natalie Medical Building.

“As officers were yelling out ‘Tulsa police!’ and advancing towards the suspect’s location, they heard a gunshot,” Franklin said. “We believe that was the final gunshot with the suspect taking his own life. That gunshot was at 4:58 p.m., approximately 39 seconds after the first officers entered the building.”

Franklin also said a woman claiming to be Louis’ wife had called police to tell them that her husband had killed people, and that she had provided additional “clarifying information after the fact.”

Franklin said that his office is still trying to determine whether Louis has had any prior contact with law enforcement. A booking photo from the Muskogee County Sheriff’s Office appears to show Louis as having been charged with two driving-related offenses in 2016.

When asked if Louis was seeking pain medication from Phillips and whether this was an “opioid situation,” Franklin said that the investigation has so far revealed that “Louis was in pain” and he “was not getting relief,” but that was all the information he could provide at this time.

The Daily Beast reported Thursday that one of Louis’ relatives confirmed that he was the one behind the shootings.

“Tulsa Police called me and verified that it’s my uncle,” Louis’ niece, who did not want to be named, texted the Daily Beast on Thursday. “We are so distraught.”

Louis’ niece reportedly called the shooting “heinous” and said the family doesn’t condone violence of any kind.

“I don’t even want to be associated,” she reportedly said.

According to the Daily Beast, Louis’ niece said that her family is struggling to come to terms with what happened.

“We are aware that he has been experiencing back pain for a long time but [there is] no reason for this senseless act,” she reportedly said. “We are a Christian-based family. We have never experienced this before.”

[Images via Muskogee County Sheriff’s Office/J. Pat Carter/Getty Images.]

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow Law&Crime: