The shooting in the Bronx on Friday has taken an interesting turn. The shooter was a doctor. Dr Henry Bello took an AR-15 to the 16th and 17th floors of the Bronx Lebanon Hospital on Friday afternoon and began shooting. He shot seven people and then turned the rifle on himself.
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After his identity became public, reports surfaced of an email sent to the New York Daily News by Bello. He had planned the attack and wanted to make sure the public knew why he was so angry. His email blamed two doctors for ending what Bello called “my road to a licensure to practice medicine.”
“First, I was told it was because I always kept to myself. Then it was because of an altercation with a nurse,” Bello wrote. The hospital reported that Bello had been forced to leave his job over sexual harassment allegations.
Bello, however, felt like his firing was caused by miscommunication with colleague that had been perceived as threatening.
After he’d been fired, Bello said he emailed the colleague “congratulating her for my termination after she sent out an email to everybody telling them to file complaints against me so I can be terminated for being rude to her.”
“I only said in the email, it remains to be seen if my life is meaningless or disposable,” Bello wrote. Bello’s email implied that the doctor was responsible for destroying his career.
After the shooting, Bello tried to set himself on fire. The hospital’s sprinkler system put out the fire. When that didn’t work, he shot himself.
The shootings sent employees into panic. Many locked themselves in their offices. “I thought I was going to die,” Renaldo Del Villar, a patient, told The Daily Mail.
Dr Maureen Kwankam who worked with Bello said he was fired “because he was kind of crazy. He promised to come back and kill us then,” she said.
Dr David Lazala, a family medicine doctor who trained Bello, was equally damning. He said Bello “was very aggressive, talking loudly, threatening people all the time. He was a problem.”
Bello had been arrested in 2004 for sexual abuse. He reportedly picked up a 23 year old woman and told her “You are coming with me.” In 2009, he was arrested again for trying to look up skirts with a mirror.
Despite all of the warning, many are still characterizing the shooting as a surprise. “This was a horrible situation unfolding in a place that people associated with care and comfort, a situation that came out of nowhere,’ New York City mayor Bill de Blasio said.