CHICAGO — A man whooutside a Chicago hospital before killing two people inside the building had been kicked out of the city's fire department academy four years ago after threatening a female cadet. Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Merritt said Tuesday that officials learned of the threats and told Juan Lopez he'd be disciplined. Lopez was fired after he went AWOL.
Police said Lopez fatally shot Dr. Tamara O'Neal on Monday outside Mercy Hospital. Police said O'Neal had recently called off their engagement and Lopez confronted her about returning the engagement ring. Lopez and O'Neal had set a wedding date of Oct. 27, according to the former couple's gift registry at Bed, Bath & Beyond. But the wedding date passed without the couple walking down the aisle.
After shooting O'Neal, Lopez then killed a resident pharmacist, Dayna Less, and officer Samuel Jimenez during a shootout with police inside the hospital. Lopez also died.
Merritt didn't have any details of the past threats. But they were made the same year a woman sought an order of protection against him because he was incessantly texting her. Police said they have not determined if the woman was granted an order of protection.
Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said Lopez had legally purchased four guns in the last five years and worked for the Chicago Housing Authority. Guglielmi described the shooting as a "domestic-related active shooter incident."
Mayor Rahm Emanuel, fighting back tears, said the victims were "all going about their day, all doing what they loved." He added: "This just tears at the soul of our city. It is the face and a consequence of evil."
Lopez, 32, and O'Neal had been arguing in the hospital parking lot. When one of O'Neal's friends tried to intervene, "the offender lifted up his shirt and displayed a handgun," Johnson said. The friend ran into the hospital to call for help, and the gunfire began seconds later. After O'Neal fell to the ground, Lopez "stood over her and shot her three more times," a witness named James Gray told reporters.
One of O'Neal's colleagues, Dr. John Purakal, said he and his team tried unsuccessfully to save her.
"I knew her, trained with her, saved lives with her and tonight, tried to save her life," Purakal tweeted. "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."