A Devoted Doctor, a Heroic Officer, a Determined Resident: The Chicago Hospital Shooting Victims
Police said the first fatal victim, a doctor of emergency medicine, was killed by her ex fiancé, who came looking for the engagement ring
Three innocent people were killed Monday afternoon in yet another senseless shooting — this time at a Chicago hospital — carried out by a man targeting his ex-fiancée.
One of the deceased was a dedicated police officer. Another had overcome adversity to launch her career as a pharmacy resident and had plans to marry. Another was a dedicated doctor who cared deeply for her patients and community.
The names and ages of the fatal victims were confirmed by authorities Monday evening. The attack also injured several others, according to multiple reports.
Shots were first reported at the hospital at about 3:30 p.m., with the first bullets fired in the adjacent parking lot. The gunman was found dead inside, but it remains unclear if he died from suicide or from police officer gunfire.
These are the deceased victims:
Dr. Tamara O’Neal, 38
O’Neal, a doctor of emergency medicine, was the first to die Monday. She was fatally shot by the gunman — identified as her ex-fiancé, 32-year-old Juan Lopez — in the parking lot of Mercy Hospital, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson said during a televised press conference.
The shooter approached O’Neal, according to police, and an argument ensued when he asked for the engagement ring; she told him she did not have it, and he drew his weapon.
In addition to her medical career, the Chicago Tribune reports O’Neal, 38, was active in her community, leading the choir at her church.
“That was her one thing she wanted … to be able to go to church on Sunday,” explained the hospital’s Emergency Department director, Patrick Connor, during Monday’s press conference.
She also raised money for disenfranchised youth and chose to work at Mercy Hospital so the she could help the disadvantaged, Dr. Alejandra O’Brien, an emergency medicine doctor who trained with O’Neal at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago, tells PEOPLE.
“After she graduated, she wanted more than anything to be an ER doctor and work in an underserved population,” O’Brien says of O’Neal, describing her as “kind, devoted and one of the hardest-working people I know.”
Officer Samuel Jimenez, 28
Jimenez, with the Chicago police force for fewer than two years, was one of the first officers to respond to the scene. As he and his partner pulled into the parking lot, they could see the shooter standing over O’Neal’s body.
Jimenez engaged the shooter, but ended up getting killed as the two exchanged gunfire. A second officer was struck by a bullet but is recovering.
According to USA Today, Jimenez is survived by his wife and their three small children.
Jimenez joined the department in February 2017, the Chicago Police said on Twitter. “Today, we mourn Chicago Police Officer Samuel Jimenez. His heroic actions saved countless lives. He ran toward danger. He ran toward those shots. He ran into fire. Selflessly,” the department said on Twitter.
• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.
Dayna Less, 25
Less was a recent graduate of Purdue University who was killed as she was stepping out of an elevator at Mercy Hospital.
Chicago’s ABC 7 reports that Less was a pharmacy resident who was planning her wedding, which was scheduled for this coming June.
An ardent Cubs fan, Dayna was described in a statement family provided to NBC Chicago as “a beautiful daughter who overcame adversity and dared to succeed in a tragic world.” The statement notes that Less had overcome a debilitating headache disorder, which involved numerous surgeries.
“She realized then that she could not sit still and only wanted to help others and the less fortunate,” the statement adds.
• With reporting by HILARY SHENFELD