By AMANDA SEITZ , Associated Press
CHICAGO (AP) — A gunman opened fire Monday at a Chicago hospital, wounding at least four people, including a police officer and a hospital employee, authorities said.
A police spokesman said the gunman was dead, but it was not immediately clear if he took his own life or was killed by police at Mercy Hospital on the city’s South Side.
A witness named James Gray told reporters that it looked as if the attacker “was turning and shooting people at random.”
The shooting apparently began as the suspect was walking with a woman near a parking lot. He turned and repeatedly shot the woman in the chest. He then entered the hospital and continued firing, Gray said.
Four people were in critical condition, including an officer. At least one of the four was a hospital employee, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said.
Authorities asked people to avoid the area.
A message left for hospital officials was not immediately returned.
Television footage showed several people, including some wearing white coats, walking through a parking lot with their arms up.
Hundreds of police cars, firetrucks and ambulance encircled the hospital. Police blocked off streets in the surrounding neighborhood.
Mercy has a rich history as the city’s first chartered hospital. It began in 1852, when the Sisters of Mercy religious group converted a rooming house. During the Civil War, the hospital treated both Union soldiers and Confederate prisoners of war, according to its website.