A Muskogee, Oklahoma, man called his doctor hours before coming to his hospital and fatally shooting the physician, three other medical professionals, and himself. The former patient complained about back pain, blaming the doctor for his excruciating pain.
Tulsa police believe Michael Louis, the 45-year-old man that committed this heinous crime at the Natalie Medical Building, near St. Francis Hospital, was motivated to murder two orthopedists, a medical receptionist, and a bystander because his doctor couldn’t make his pain go away.
On Tuesday, May 24, he was released from the hospital after undergoing a back operation. Dr. Preston Phillips, a beloved orthopedic surgeon, performed the surgery, the Daily Beast reported.
Unfortunately, the pain never subsided and over the next week, Louis complained to his family and the doctor’s officer about his agony, Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin said at a press conference on Thursday, June 2.
One niece said many people in the family knew about his pain.
“We are aware that he has been experiencing back pain for a long time but [there is] no reason for this senseless act,” she said. “We are a Christian-based family. We have never experienced this before.”
At a press conference, authorities said Louis called Phillip’s office “several times over several days … complaining of back pain and wanting additional assistance.” He even called on Wednesday, June 1, the day of the massacre but never received a satisfactory response.
Fed up, the man went to a local gun store and purchased an AR-15-style rifle. Armed with the weapon and a .40-caliber Smith & Wesson semi-automatic handgun he purchased three days prior from a pawn shop in the area, he went to the hospital intending to kill someone.
AR-15-style rifles have been used in many of the most horrific group killings. According to CBS News, it is “the most popular rifle in America with well over 11 million” people owning one and while rarely used in crimes, “is the weapon of choice of the worst mass murderers.”
Some kind of AR-15 variation was used in the following mass shootings: at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, the shooting at the Tops supermarket in a Buffalo, New York; at a Texas Walmart in 2019; at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida in 2018; a Texas Sutherland Springs church, and a Las Vegas country music festival where more than 400 people were shot and 58 killed.
At the Mandalay Bay hotel in 2017; and Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.
The weapon fires a round that travels up to three times the speed of sound, it can fire about 60 rounds a minute and the magazines that hold up to 100 rounds can be changed in about five seconds.
According to the police chief, a patient who was having a tele-visit with the doctor called 911 at 4:52 p.m. to report the shooting.
Within four minutes, officers responded to the scene, and at 4:58 p.m. The cops reportedly heard the last gunshot 39 seconds after entering the building, and believe it was Louis shooting himself in an exam room of the Warren Clinic Orthopedic Surgery and Sports Medicine division on the second floor.
Hiding underneath a desk, close to Louis’ body was a senior citizen. Police were able to rescue the elderly woman.
In addition to Dr. Phillips, Dr. Stephanie Hussen was shot and killed. One of the victims was Amanda Glenn, a receptionist at the facility. The other was William Love, a man who was only accompanying a patient to an appointment.
The official said both individuals “stood in the way, and Louis gunned them down.” Love was operating as a hero, holding the door so other people could escape the crazed gunman’s fire.
Franklin said on Louis’ person was a note that “made it clear that he came in with the intent to kill Dr. Phillips and anyone who got in his way. He blamed Dr. Phillips for the ongoing pain following the surgery.”
Dr. Phillips was well-loved in his community. Tributes poured in after news of his death went viral.
“Woke up in Greece this morning to the heartbreaking news that in Tulsa last night our sweet friend who we play tennis with,” Sandy Thompson posted on her Facebook. “Dr. Phillips was a wonderful, gentle, kind person with an infectious smile and kind word for everyone. I ran into him on the courts just a week or two ago. He never fails to look you in the eye and give you a bright, genuine smile and warm greeting. His words are always kind and encouraging. He was a true gentleman in every respect both on and off the courts. He made the world a better place and Preston’s presence will be deeply missed.”
Another Allyson Cady said, “Oh to be able to have your giant teddy bear arm around us just one more time.”
Reviews left on Google from his former patients also honored the doctor in his death.
One former patient wrote, “Dr. Phillips presents as stern, yet friendly and professional. He doesn’t mince words, so those of fragile emotional maturity may not want to visit him.”
Another former patient said, “Dr. Phillips is one of the best orthopedic spinal surgeons in Tulsa. I had previous surgery on my back by another Doctor and I continued to have problems. Dr. Phillips attempted a high-risk surgery on me and was successful. He talks to you like your a person and not a number. He has a very unique and effective recovery regimen.”
Later on the day of the shooting, Tulsa officers called local law enforcement to go to Louis’ Muskogee home, ordering his wife Edith Lubin to evacuate, after someone called saying they believed a bomb might have been in the house.
Authorities do not believe that Lubin knew about the shooting in advance but said she did eventually know, with Franklin telling reporters her husband reached out to her “either before the shooting took place, or during the shooting, and let her know what he had done.”
Lubin in turn called the police to report her husband’s crime.