5 wounded in Minnesota clinic attack; local man arrested

The alleged shooter was identified as Gregory Paul Ulrich, of Buffalo. Wright County Sheriff Sean Deringer said Ulrich was well-known to authorities before the attack.

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Law enforcement personnel walk toward the Allina Health clinic, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021, in Buffalo, Minn. Authorities say multiple people were shot at the Minnesota health clinic on Tuesday and someone was taken into custody afterward.

Law enforcement personnel walk toward the Allina Health clinic, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021, in Buffalo, Minn. Authorities say multiple people were shot at the Minnesota health clinic on Tuesday and someone was taken into custody afterward.

AP

BUFFALO, Minn. — A 67-year-old local man who was well-known to law enforcement opened fire at a Minnesota health clinic on Tuesday, wounding five people who were rushed to area hospitals, authorities said.

The attack happened Tuesday morning at an Allina clinic in Buffalo, a community of about 15,000 people roughly roughly 40 miles northwest of Minneapolis. Kelly Spratt, the president of Buffalo Health, said during a news conference that five patients were wounded and were rushed to hospitals, but that he didn’t know any of their conditions.

The alleged shooter was identified as Gregory Paul Ulrich, of Buffalo. Wright County Sheriff Sean Deringer said Ulrich was well-known to authorities before the attack.

“We have had several calls for service dating to 2003,” Deringer said.

Police Chief Pat Budke said his department and area health care clinics have a history of conflict with Ulrich, which leads investigators to believe he was targeting the clinic or someone inside. But he said it was too early in the investigation to know if a specific doctor was targeted.

“None of the information that we have from our past contact with him would indicate that he was unhappy with, or would direct his anger at, anyone other than people within the facilities where he had been treated or where they had attempted to give treatment,” Budke said, noting that it didn’t appear to be a case of domestic terrorism.

Public online court records for Ulrich list a handful of arrests and convictions for drunken driving and possession of small amounts of marijuana from 2004 through 2014, mostly in Wright County, including two convictions for gross misdemeanor drunken driving that resulted in short jail sentences.

Gov. Tim Walz said at an earlier news conference that “some improvised explosive devices” were part of the attack, though he didn’t say whether any were detonated.

“At this time it appears it was a single individual,” Walz said. “Again, (it’s) too early to tell motives or reasons why.”

North Memorial Health spokeswoman Abigail Greenheck said multiple victims were brought to its hospital in Robbinsdale. She did not say how many or what condition they were in.

The FBI sent bomb technicians to the scene. Members of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms’ enforcement group and special agents from the state’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension also responded.

The clinic is set off at the edge of Buffalo near an old red barn with flaking paint. Dozens of emergency vehicles and law enforcement officers carrying guns were on the scene, setting up a perimeter. TV footage showed little activity at the clinic itself, but several shattered plate-glass windows could be seen. At least two windows were shattered a nearby motel.

More than three hours after the attack, law enforcement moved to cordon off a neighborhood about a mile from the clinic. An ATF agent on the edge of the perimeter declined to talk to an AP reporter.

At least a half-dozen law enforcement vehicles were gathered near a small mobile home park near Pulaski Lake in the city. A woman from the sheriff’s office who declined to identify herself said they were executing a search warrant in connection to the clinic shooting. She declined to give any additional information.

A state Department of Public Health spokesman said he didn’t immediately know if the clinic has been administering COVID-19 vaccinations. An Allina spokesman referred all questions to the Buffalo police and the Wright County Sheriff’s Office.

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Ehlke reported from Milwaukee. Associated Press writers Tim Sullivan, in Buffalo, and Amy Forliti and Steve Karnowski in Minneapolis contributed.

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Mohamed Ibrahim is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

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