This story was updated at 6:40 a.m. EDT, Nov. 20.
One of the two victims killed in Monday’s hospital shooting in Chicago was a Black woman doctor named Tamara O’Neal, who was reportedly shot to death by a man who she had been in a romantic relationship with. If the reports turn out to be accurate, the tragic episode was a sad but familiar collision of two of the most despicable scourges of society: domestic violence against Black women and guns.
The shooter, Juan Lopez, shot three other people, two fatally — a police officer and a pharmaceutical assistant — before turning the gun on himself in one final, cowardly act. Aside from O’Neal, Chicago police officer Samuel Jimenez, 28, was pronounced dead along with the pharmaceutical assistant, Dayna Less, a 25-year-old “first year pharmacy resident who had recently graduated from Purdue University,” according to the Associated Press.
In all, four people died.
O’Neal, a 38-year-old emergency room doctor, was described as “a critical care specialist” whose job it was to “diagnose and treat patients with life-threatening conditions like heart attack, drug overdose, shock, or massive bleeding.” According to ABC Chicago, she “had recently broke off an engagement with the gunman.”
Condolences for O’Neal and Jimenez flooded social media with reports from people who knew them.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson described a chaotic scene in the hospital following an initial shooting outside of the hospital in a parking lot, where O’Neal was shot after her friend tried to step in. That was when Lopez “lifted up his shirt and displayed a handgun,” Johnson told members of the media.
When the friend fled, Lopez “stood over her and shot her three more times,” a witness told the AP.
Once police responded, Lopez ran into the hospital before shooting at law enforcement as well as innocent bystanders, including “a poor woman who just came off the elevator” — presumably Less, the pharmaceutical assistant.
Shortly afterward Lopez died from at least one gunshot wound, though it was not confirmed if he was hit by police fire or killed himself.
A procession of police officers could be seen in Chicago Monday night.
The violence against O’Neal was not an anomaly, as statistics show that Black women are by far the disproportionate victims of domestic violence.
“African American women are more likely to experience domestic violence in comparison to women of other races/ethnicities. Indeed, during their lifetimes, 40% of black women experience physical violence inflicted by their partners,” according to research conducted by the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “This percentage is higher than the 31.5% rate for all women combined.”