A medical worker who was canned from Bronx Lebanon Hospital returned to his former workplace with an assault rifle and a deadly grudge Friday afternoon, shooting seven employees and killing one of them, before turning his weapon on himself after failing to set himself on fire, officials said.
The shooter, Henry Bello, 45, was found dead sprawled out on a hospital hallway from a self-inflicted gunshot wound with the victim he killed nearby, according to NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill. The victim who died was a doctor, according to Mayor de Blasio.
“We’ve had real tragedy here in the Bronx this afternoon,” de Blasio said at a press conference outside the Morris Heights medical center. “It’s something we’ve seen around the country and now we’ve experienced it here.”
Wearing a white lab coat, Bello began his rampage at about 2:45 p.m., opening fire several times at his former colleagues on the hospital’s 16th floor. His shooting spree ended one floor above, police said.
The mayor said five of his victims were in serious condition. Another suffered a gunshot wound to the leg.
“As you know, the shooter killed himself but not before having done horrible damage,” de Blasio said. “Our hearts go out to the family of the doctor who passed away.”
As shots rang out, panicked patients and hospital personnel barricaded themselves in their rooms.
“I was in the middle of getting an X-ray when security alerted us to the active shooter situation and locked us in,” patient Felix Puno, who was hunkered down in the fourth floor radiology department, told the Daily News. “Police are here doing a floor-by-floor sweep.”
Ronald Rogerson, 59, was on the seventh floor of the hospital awaiting an orthopedic appointment when he heard the gunfire.
“The lights started going off, alarms started going off and stuff,” he said.
Bello used to work in the family medicine unit and is a licensed pharmacy technician.
“Active shooting in Bronx Lebanon Hospital… Man dressed all in black. Smoke from the 16th floor,” the NYPD Special Operations Division posted to Twitter.
Police swept the hospital searching for the shooter and found a trail of blood leading from the second to the eighth floor.
ABC7 reported that two of the victims were women and one was dead. The New York Times reported that three of the victims were doctors.
“I heard two doctors got shot 20 times, both of them,” said Jasmine Mercado, 24. “They said the person was going from the ninth floor to the eighth floor shooting.”
The hospital was evacuated, while some people barricaded themselves inside.
At least 20 people barricaded themselves in a lab on the 15th floor — and blocked the door so well they needed the FDNY to help get them out, officials said.
More than 100 cop cars swarmed the hospital and shut the building down.
An FDNY EMS Counterrorism unit responded to search for victims with the NYPD.
A secondary task force was set up by the Whitestone Bridge on the Queens side in case Bello had escaped the building.
Carlos Rodriguez, 19, was right outside the Bronx Lebanon when cops stormed the hospital
“I just seen a bunch of cops come in through the back, through the front with their pistols drawn, (screaming), ‘This guy’s a threat’ … I though something bad was about to happen. They were telling us to evacuate and go back. They said he was a threat and he might start shooting out the windows.”
The hospital website temporarily crashed or was purposely shut down as the drama unfolded.
With Ginger Adams Otis
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