By Prudence Arobani
More facts have emerged about Dr Michael Henry Bello, the gunman who shot seven people at the Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Centre, New York on Friday; identified as a native of Auchi in Estako West Local government in Edo state.
Dr. Bola Omotosho, the Community Board Chair for The Bronx 5, New York, told the Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that Bello, 45, shot dead a woman on the 17th floor and injured six others on the 16th floor, before allegedly killing himself, the New York Police Department Commissioner James O’Neil, said.
He went into the hospital, his former workplace, wearing a white lab coat with an AR-15 machine gun hidden underneath and asked for a specific doctor on the 16th floor.
However, when he was told the doctor was not there, he started shooting at everyone and tried to set himself on fire before allegedly committing suicide.
Omotosho said: “He (Bello) is a Nigerian, he’s from Auchi, virtually not that I knew him personally but he had his medical education in the Caribbean, came back here – U.S.
“He left the hospital and up till recent, was working with the HRA – Human Resources Administration – here in the Bronx, after he left the hospital.
“But he left that place, the HRA where he was working, unceremoniously. The relevance of this is there are several Nigerians in the HRA, New York City Human Resources Administration.
“So he just abandoned the job and when he did not show up after a couple of weeks even up to a month, he was recently terminated from there about two or three weeks ago or so.
“But of course, he must have had his own challenges, while he was planning something.
“And in addition to that, very recently, as at this past week, less than two weeks ago, was when they notified the HRA Police as part of precautionary measure.
“That any ex-staffer who has been dismissed or terminated, should not be allowed into the building; just this past two weeks or less than that.
“It is unfortunate that hospital has no metal detector; we don’t use metal detector in the office.
“That’s the last place you expect a disgruntled worker to come back and do such a heinous crime or retaliation”.
Omotosho, who has been elected the Community Board Chair for Bronx 5 for 10 years, just got re-elected during the City Council election on June 21.
“I’ve held that position now for 10 years. I’ve been re-elected every year; this is the eleventh year,” the Nigerian-born medical doctor told NAN.
According to him, when the incident involving Bello occurred, he responded as the Committee Board Chair, as it was part of the process expected of him as the representative of the people.
“The officer from my 46 Precinct, who responded to the 911 call, is in my District.
“So part of the verification process is for the Public Affairs Officer to call me, being the Committee Board Chair, that ‘this is what’s going on, somebody is killed in your District’.”
Meanwhile, there have been some controversies as to whether Bello killed himself or was actually shot dead.
It was believed that shooters who committed suicide usually shot themselves on the head and not on the chest as it was in Bello’s case.
At Bello’s home in the Bronx, investigators recovered the box the rifle had been packed when he bought it on June 20, reports said.
Of the six people wounded in the shooting, two had been transferred to Mount Sinai Hospital by Sunday as they had injuries to the brain and liver and remained in critical but stable condition.
Four patients – medical residents, a medical student and a patient – remained at Bronx-Lebanon, where they were in stable condition recovering from injuries to the abdomen, neck, thigh and hand, hospital officials said. (NAN)