At least two people are reported to have been shot at the University of Alabama’s hospital in Birmingham. According to a tweet from the Birmingham Police Department, two people have been shot and the suspect is dead. The call of shots fired came in to police at 7:05 p.m., reports CBS Birmingham’s Jack Royer. Royer later reported that a campus alert was sent to students at the school at 7:14 p.m. Less than an hour later, the shelter-in-place was lifted for students.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. 2 Nurses Are Among the Reported Victims
Talk 99.5 in Alabama reports that “possibly two nurses shot.” Alabama.com reports that the victims are on the second floor of the building and police are doing a room-by-room search of the facility. Jack Royer reports that the gunman shot two nurses before turning the gun on himself. Captain H.R. Watson of the Birmingham Fire Department told the media that the condition of one of the victims is considered critical. Another of the victims died during surgery following the attack. At least two of the victims are male.
2. The Public Is Being Asked to Avoid the Area
The severity of the injuries is not known as this time with a police spokesperson describing the situation as “fluid.” Authorities are asking the public to avoid the University of Alabama Hospital-Highlands, located at 1201 11th Avenue South, in the south end of the school’s campus. The hospital includes an emergency room and internal medicine clinic.
3. The Hospital Has Previously Been Named Among America’s Best
In 2008, the hospital was ranked among America’s best by the U.S. News & World Report. Specifically it was the hospital’s specialty programs that were held in such high regard. The hospital was founded in 1945 and has 1,157 beds. In addition, the hospital is the second largest employer in Alabama and the largest employer in Birmingham with 18,750 people working in the facility. In total, around 35,000 patients are treated at UAB Hospital every year.
4. The University of Alabama Was Last Rocked by a Shooting Attack in 2010
The University of Alabama was last rocked by tragedy in February 2010 when Professor Amy Bishop shot and killed three people while wounding three others at the school’s campus in Huntsville. In September 2012, Bishop was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. During Bishop’s trial, it emerged that in 1986 she had shot and killed her brother in Massachusetts. That incident was later ruled an accident. In 1993, Bishop was investigated, along with her husband, of plotting a pipe bomb attack against a colleague. Bishop studied neurobiology at Harvard University.
In October 2015, both WAFF and The Hunstville Times reported that Bishop had apologized for the shooting referring to it as a “terrible crime.” Bishop wrote in a note that she was “terribly sorry for the victims and their families, and my family.”
5. The Shooting Comes on the Same Day that Thousands of American Students Left Classes to Protest Gun Laws in America
The shooting on the campus of the University of Alabama occurred on the same day that thousands of students across the United States walked out of their class rooms in protest of gun laws. The protests began at 10 a.m. in each time zone and lasted for 17 minutes, a tribute to the 17 people who were killed in Parkland in February 2018. The students, along with other gun sense groups, are seeking a ban on assault weapons, universal background checks and a law that allow police to take guns away from those who exhibit violent behavior.