BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — A police SWAT team Wednesday searched a building on the grounds of a Buffalo hospital for a person suspected of fatally shooting a 33-year-old woman, authorities said.
Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda said the morning shooting that prompted a lockdown of Erie County Medical Center wasn't a random act. Police searched the building adjacent to the hospital's main building for the shooter more than four hours after the victim was gunned down inside.
The shooting prompted a four-hour lockdown of the medical center's 65-acre campus that was lifted at around noon for all buildings except the one being searched by police. Incoming patients were diverted to another hospital during the lockdown.
Police haven't released any information on the victim, other than her age. No information on the suspected shooter was released.
Police said the woman was shot several times shortly after 8 a.m. inside a building that houses outpatient services and offices.
A police helicopter circled over the medical center's campus, which includes a 550-bed hospital. Officials said as many as 400 patients and about half of the hospital's 2,000 employees were on the grounds at the time of the shooting.
"Things are well under control by Buffalo police" and other law enforcement agencies involved in the investigation, Mayor Byron Brown said. He said state police, Erie County sheriff's deputies and suburban police departments were assisting.
"It's a very sad day for ECMC and our community," said Jody Lomeo, the medical center's chief executive officer. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim."
Nikita Patel, a 25-year-old University at Buffalo medical student from Los Angeles, said she arrived at the hospital about 9 a.m. for a class and was kept from entering. She texted fellow students inside the hospital to find out what was happening.
"They said they're locked in and can't get out of the hospital and I can't go in," Patel said.