A deranged former medical worker who was recently terminated from his position at the Bronx Lebanon Hospital returned on Friday with an assault rifle and opened fire, shooting seven employees and killing one of them before turning the weapon on himself after unsuccessfully trying to set himself ablaze.
“We’ve had a real tragedy here in the Bronx this afternoon,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said during 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.”
Officials say that 45-year-old Henry Bello, the suspect in the case, was found dead in a hospital hallway from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said. The victim who suffered the fatal gunshots, who was a doctor, lay nearby.
Bello was wearing a white lab coat as he began spraying bullets at his former colleagues just before 3:00 pm. He began the shooting spree on the 16th floor and was found dead on the 17th floor after leaving five victims in serious condition and one with a gunshot wound to the leg. Frantic patients and hospital workers barricaded themselves in their rooms when they heard gunshots.
Security personnel quickly responded by locking down segments of the hospital so that Bello could not enter. When police arrived, they carried out a floor-by-floor sweep to ensure that there were no additional threats to patients and employees. It was not long before they came across Bello’s body.
“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.”
The shooter worked in the family medicine unit and was a licensed pharmacy technician. He was on the cusp of being fired by the hospital amid accusations of sexual harassment, a police official told the New York Times, but he instead resigned. Investigators are still working to determine a motive but are operating under the assumption that it was workplace violence.