A Black Doctor Among Four Dead in Shooting at Mercy Hospital

 Photo of Dr. Tamara O’Neal shared by a colleague. Match day: the day a med student both longs for and dreads. When we see if our dream becomes reality & our hard work pays off. That smile says it all. (@Redsoxma Twitter.com photo)
Photo of Dr. Tamara O’Neal shared by a colleague. Match day: the day a med student both longs for and dreads. When we see if our dream becomes reality & our hard work pays off. That smile says it all. (@Redsoxma Twitter.com photo)

Chicago Crusader Staff Report

Chicago and Denver on Monday, November 19, joined many cities in America that have been plagued by mass shootings.

A Black doctor was among four people who died in a mass shooting at Mercy Hospital in Chicago’s predominately Black Bronzeville neighborhood. She was identified as Tamara E. O’Neal.

O’Neal died after she was allegedly gunned down in the parking lot by her former fiancée. The incident was the beginning of a deadly shooting rampage that killed Chicago Police Officer Samuel Jimenez, 28. But as the city prepares to give him a ceremonial sendoff, gun violence that has claimed so many Black lives remains a persistent problem that once again has placed Chicago in the national spotlight. 

While many Black victims are portrayed in Chicago media as underachieving individuals with criminal backgrounds, O’Neal was a well-educated and accomplished professional who attended church frequently. However, most of the attention in Chicago’s media has been on Jimenez’s death. 

In addition to the O’Neal and Jimenez, a hospital pharmaceutical assistant was fatally shot after exiting an elevator. The victim’s name is being withheld until the family has been contacted.

In the middle of it all is Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, a Black police veteran who grew up in the city’s notorious Cabrini Green Housing projects that was immortalized in the television sitcom “Good Times.” 

Another product of Cabrini Green is Kim Foxx, a Black Cook County State’s Attorney, who’s under pressure to clean up the city’s justice system that for so long has been infested with crooked cops who have tortured, harassed and locked up many innocent Blacks. Some say Foxx has not done enough to reform the justice system despite her pledge to do so after voters ousted her predecessor, Anita Alvarez in 2016, following the Laquan McDonald scandal. 

For the Black community, the fatal shooting of Jimenez is bittersweet as the police misconduct trial of three officers accused of covering up the shooting of the McDonald shooting starts next Monday, November 26th after the long Thanksgiving holiday. 

Jimenez leaves behind a wife and four children. Jimenez was hired on the force in February 2017. He had recently completed his probationary period.

The mass shooting occurred as Chicago was preparing for the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend. The shooting rekindled painful memories of Police Commander Paul Bauer who died earlier this year while trying to apprehend a shooter at the James R. Thompson Center in the West Loop. Officer Jimenez is now the second Chicago Police officer to be killed in the line of duty in 2018. 

“It’s been a tough day for the Chicago Police Department and the City of Chicago,” said Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson during an emotional press conference.

During the press conference, Johnson described how the shooting unfolded around three in the afternoon. He said there was a domestic dispute in the parking lot at Mercy Hospital. A friend tried to intervene before the gunman shot a female doctor whom he was once engaged to marry. 

Johnson said at some point, the “male lifted up his shirt and displayed a handgun,” Johnson said shots were then fired and the female doctor was left wounded on the ground. 

Police came to the scene after a 911 call that alerted them of the shooting. The gunman started firing at them while the police were still in their squad cars, police said. The man ran into the hospital as he was chased by police.

“They engaged the offender for several minutes with gunshots being fired” by the offender and by police, Johnson said.

Jimenez was taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center, where he was later pronounced dead.  The female doctor died at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Police scoured the hospital for any other gunmen, and some patients were evacuated to warming buses that were parked along South King Drive on the east side of Mercy Hospital. 

Shortly before 5 p.m., Mercy Hospital said it was no longer an active-shooter scene.

A second officer was struck in his gun holster but was not seriously injured.