A jilted lover who killed his former fiancee, a pharmacist and a young cop at a Chicago hospital demanded that his ex return the ring he gave her before opening fire.
Juan Lopez, a Chicago Housing Authority worker, shot his former partner Dr Tamara O’Neal repeatedly in the parking lot of Mercy Hospital on Monday.
The pair were supposed to have gotten married three weeks ago, according to their online gift registry, but she called it off.
After killing Dr O’Neal, Lopez went inside the hospital where he fatally shot 25-year-old pharmacy resident Dayna Less and Chicago police officer Samuel Jimenez, 28.
He then shot at a second police officer who escaped injury when the bullet lodged in the barrel of his handgun while it was holstered on his belt.
Lopez was then shot dead by SWAT officers.
Juan Lopez, 32, gunned down his ex-fiancee Tamara O’Neal, 38, (pictured together) in the parking lot of Mercy Hospital in Chicago on Monday. O’Neal was an ER doctor at the hospital
Lopez shot Dr O’Neal three times in the parking lot before she could begin her shift as an ER doctor at the hospital. He then stood over her body and fired three more rounds
He also killed Chicago police officer Samuel Jimenez, 28, (pictured). Jimenez had only just completed his probationary period. He was a father of three
Lopez then went inside the hospital and killed 25-year-old Dayna Less (pictured), a first-year pharmacy resident at Mercy who was engaged to be married
Lopez also shot at a second police officer, but the bullet struck his holster and embedded into the gun (pictured). He was not injured
Witnesses said the shooting began around 3.30pm when Lopez confronted Dr O’Neal in the parking lot.
She was wearing her medical scrubs and was about to start her shift as an ER doctor at the hospital.
Lopez demanded Dr O’Neal give back the ring he gave her, WGNTV reports, then shot her three times when she told him she didn’t have it.
She and Lopez had reportedly planned to wed on October 27, but Dr O’Neal called off the wedding in September.
It is not yet known why Dr O’Neal broke off her engagement with Lopez.
He stood over her body and fired three more rounds, witnesses said, before making his way inside the hospital.
It was there that he shot and killed Less, a first-year pharmacy resident at Mercy who was engaged to be married.
Lopez then killed Jimenez – a married father-of-three who had only just completed his probationary period on the Chicago police force.
There was a ‘verbal altercation’ between O’Neal and Lopez in the parking lot, Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson said during a press conference on Monday night.
A witness who was sitting in a van with nursing home patients in the parking lot said Dr O’Neal had run to them for help.
‘She got on the phone and she was trying to call the police,’ the witness told WGN. ‘She asked us not to leave her alone because he is going to kill her.’
The witness said Lopez then approached O’Neal and demanded that she give him a ring. Dr O’Neal told him that she didn’t have it. Then, he pulled out a gun.
Steve Mixon, a clerk at the emergency room, said Lopez had called around 1pm and asked ‘to speak with his fiancee’.
Witnesses said Lopez shot O’Neal in the hospital parking lot before rushing inside and opening fire at others
O’Neal and Lopez were due to marry on October 27, but she called the wedding off in September. O’Neal is pictured here with Lopez’s mother, who caption the photo ‘my future daughter-in-law’
Dr O’Neal, an ER doctor at the hospital, was reporting for work when she was confronted by Lopez just before 3.30pm
Lopez shot Less (pictured) just as she was getting off an elevator as his rampage continued inside the hospital
Lopez, 32, died inside the hospital after he was reportedly shot by a SWAT team officer
The hospital was partially evacuated following reports of an active shooter and a stream of doctors in white coats and scrubs could be seen leaving Mercy
Witnesses said Lopez targeted O’Neal in the parking lot, shooting her at least six times before going inside the hospital
‘She said, “Oh, just tell him I’m with a patient,”‘ Mixon told the Chicago Tribune.
As Mixon waited for his Uber in front of the hospital after leaving work around 3pm, he saw Dr O’Neal ‘being harassed by some gentleman’.
‘She was trying to avoid him and move around. And when she saw me, she waved for me to come that way,’ he recalled.
Mixon had started running to Dr O’Neal when Lopez opened fire. He then ran back into the emergency room to try and get help.
James Gray saw Lopez and Dr O’Neal talking to one another in the parking lot when he suddenly pulled out a gun.
‘The gentleman turned around and shot three times in the chest,’ Gray told WLS. ‘Once she fell to the ground, he turned around and shot her three more times’.
After Lopez shot Dr O’Neal again, he opened fire at a police car that began driving towards him and then entered the hospital.
‘Officers observed him with a handgun,’ Johnson said. ‘He fired multiple shots before they could exit the squad car.’
Lopez is pictured here wearing a mask at his office on Halloween. Lopez went to work as usual just hours before his hospital rampage
Officers did a ‘methodical search’ of the hospital (pictured is a SWAT team inside the hospital)
After Lopez shot O’Neal again, he shot at a police car that began driving towards him and then entered the hospital
The cops gave chase and put out an officers need assistance call, which Jimenez and his partner responded to.
‘When they pulled up, they heard the gunshots,’ Johnson said. ‘They did what the heroic officers always do, they ran towards the gunfire.’
‘They weren’t assigned to that particular call, but they went.’
Lopez then shot Less just as she was getting off an elevator.
‘That poor woman got off an elevator,’ Johnson said. ‘She had nothing to do with nothing, and he shot her. Why?’
Lopez also shot at a second police officer, but the bullet struck his holster and embedded into the gun. He was not injured.
Gray said the scene inside the hospital was ‘mass chaos’.
Plain clothes Chicago police officer salute the arrival of the body of officer Jimenez at the Cook County Medical Examiners office
The procession was held in honor of Jimenez as his body was taken from the hospital to the morgue on Monday night
A Chicago police officer carries a blue and white flag as he and other officers and firefighters file into the the Cook County Medical Examiners office
‘Once he entered, he just started shooting at random,’ Gray told NBC Chicago. ‘It looked like he was turning and pointing at people at random.’
Witness Hector Aditia was watching television in the hospital’s waiting room when he saw Lopez shoot O’Neal.
Aditia said Lopez reloaded twice, firing ’32 bullets each’ time, once he went inside the hospital.
‘He was shooting like a maniac,’ Aditia told the Chicago Tribune. ‘And he obviously knows how to shoot because he was holding the gun with both hands.’
‘I was trying to help out as much as I could. Get people out of the way of the windows. Because he could have easily just aimed at us too.’
Lopez died inside the hospital after he was shot in the head by a SWAT team officer, according to CBS Chicago.
Jimenez was taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center in critical condition. He died from his injuries just after 7.30pm.
A procession from the hospital to Cook County Morgue was held for Jimenez on Monday night.
Chicago firefighters and police officers line up outside of the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office waiting for the remains of Jimenez
Police and firefighters follow the ambulance carrying the remains of Jimenez as it arrives at the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office
People are seen inside the main entrance of Mercy Hospital on Monday night, hours after the horrific shooting
‘Today the Fraternal Order of Police lost a valued brother, a courageous police officer who got up this morning went to work and wanted to protect the city of Chicago,’ said Kevin Graham, president of the Fraternal Order of Police.
‘He did just that, but he did so with his life.’
Police did a ‘methodical search’ of the hospital following the shooting and 15 ambulances arrived at the scene.
A hospital employee said a notice came over Mercy’s public address system telling everyone in the hospital to lock their doors.
The hospital was later ‘partially evacuated’ and people were put on Chicago Transit Authority buses while officers searched Mercy.
Hospital workers had completed active shooter drills less than two weeks before Lopez’s rampage.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel paid tribute to the victims during a press conference on Monday night as he spoke of the shooting.
‘The city of Chicago lost a doctor, a pharmaceutical assistant, and a police officer,’ he said. ‘All going about their day, all doing what they love.’
‘This tears at the soul of our city. It is the face and the consequence of evil.’
‘I ask each of us to hold our children, our loved ones, closer, remember what is important in life, and that there are others who are part of our larger family who will have a tear and a hole that will never really heal, that will always have a scar.’
Employees and patients were put on Chicago Transit Authority buses (pictured) while police searched the hospital
Emergency vehicles could still be seen outside Mercy Hospital hours after the shooting
Johnson called Jimenez and his fellow responding officers heroes.
‘Those officers that responded today saved a lot of lives because this guy was just shooting,’ he said. ‘We just don’t know how much damage he was prepared to do.’
One of Lopez’s co-workers took to social media to express their shock when news broke about the shooting.
‘My heart is broken to know someone you worked with could do such a horrific crime,’ she wrote.
‘I broke bread with him, picked up and dropped him off at home and even sat on my couch [as he] expressed his concerns about his recent break-up because they were supposed to be married in October. He was at work this morning.’
Less, who was planning a spring wedding, was due to go home to Indiana on Tuesday to spend Thanksgiving with her family.
Friends said O’Neal was a Christian who was ‘very involved in her church’ and actively volunteered at school clinics.
‘She truly had a big heart that felt more than most,’ one friend said.
Dr Patrick Connor, head of Emergency Medicine at Mercy Hospital, called O’Neal one of ‘the most fascinating, hard working people’.
‘From the Mercy family, to the community that we serve, for our physicians and technicians and first responders, we train for this, but we never think we have to experience what we’ve had today,’ he said. ‘We’ll all need healing to say the least.’
Mayor Rahm Emanuel (pictured with Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson) paid tribute to the victims during a press conference on Monday night as he spoke of the shooting
Dr John Purakal had tried to save O’Neal’s life.
‘I knew her, trained with her, saved lives with her and tonight, tried to save her life,’ he wrote on Twitter.
‘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.’
O’Neal attended medical school and completed her residency at the University of Illinois.
When she was accepted into UIC’s residency program, O’Neal said she was excited to save lives.
‘You get to impact so many people from so many walks of life,’ O’Neal told Illinois Medicine.
‘I’m so overwhelmed by so many emotions. I know the future is going to be great. I know I’m going to be the best physician I can possibly be.’