BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Police cordoned off a Buffalo hospital and its sprawling campus where a woman was fatally shot Wednesday morning, prompting authorities to lock down the facility with hundreds of patients and workers inside as they searched for the gunman.
Police haven't released any information on the victim or if they believe the shooter remained on the grounds of the Erie County Medical Center.
Buffalo police spokesman Michael DeGeorge confirmed that a woman was shot and killed shortly after 8 a.m. on the grounds of the medical center, which he described as being in "complete lockdown" as SWAT teams and other officers cordoned off the 65-acre campus.
Officials said the shooting occurred inside a building that houses outpatient services and offices. The building is adjacent to the hospital's main building.
Police patrol cars blocked all entrances to the hospital campus, where officers could be seen apparently showing photographs to people in parking lots. Incoming patients were being diverted to another hospital.
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.