June 29, 2017 - 4:10 pm
Updated June 29, 2017 - 7:58 pm
Four people were injured Thursday when a gunman opened fire inside a Las Vegas medical facility.
The Metropolitan Police Department said a man fired a gun inside the Center for Wellness and Pain Care of Las Vegas, on the 300 block of North Buffalo Drive just south of Summerlin Parkway, about 3:30 p.m. before shooting himself. The man died at the scene.
Police spokeswoman Laura Meltzer said the man was a regular patient at the medical facility who on Thursday walked into the office and requested an unscheduled appointment. When he was denied, he began shooting, striking two employees.
The employees shot were taken to University Medical Center’s trauma unit, but as of 5 p.m. police said they were not in critical condition and expected to live.
A third person was hospitalized with injuries from a fall as she scrambled to get out of the office during the shooting, and a fourth person was treated for minor injuries on scene, the Las Vegas Fire Department said.
Caitlyn Jones said she was inside the medical center, standing a few feet away from the shooter when she heard the first shot.
“I’ve never heard something that loud in my life,” she said. “He pointed the gun at me, and I just ran, I got down on the ground and I got out.”
Jones said there were about a dozen people inside the office when the shooting started, and she didn’t hear the man say anything before he opened fire or while he was shooting.
“It’s a small building,” she said, “so you don’t really have anywhere to get away.”
— Rachel Crosby (@rachelacrosby) June 29, 2017
Another witness, Sammy Alonge, 41, was in a patient room when the shooter began firing in the lobby. Alonge was filling out paperwork and waiting for his nurse, who had just stepped into the lobby. She was one of the two employees shot, he said.
“When I heard the first gunshot, I thought it was a bottle or something on the floor, like something just popped,” Alonge said. “When I started hearing that ‘pop, pop, pop,’ I was so scared.”
Alonge said he tried to break the window in his room, but he couldn’t. Panicked, he hid under a table. Waiting, he heard at least eight shots fired, one after another.
After about a minute, a woman opened the door to his patient room. Alonge thought it was the shooter, but instead the woman ushered him outside. The shooter had killed himself, and Alonge passed his body as he ran away.
Police arrived about a minute later.
“I’m still in shock,” Alonge said, adding that he was grateful to be alive.
Meltzer said several people called 911 with accurate information, which helped police respond rapidly.
“We got very fortunate today,” she said. “The scene was very quickly contained.”
Police continue to investigate.
Medical director barricaded himself in office
A few hours after the shooting, Neville Campbell, the medical director at the wellness center, posted to Facebook, describing the ordeal as “one of the most frightening experiences ever.”
“As we barricaded ourself (with 5 others ) with a wooden desk behind the door in small office , the question of life, meaning and purpose overwhelmed my mind… the existential question of why was almost too much to handle… (sic),” the post read.
Campbell said the situation was bad but could have been worse, and thanked God for “protecting my staff members.”