'Our hearts still break for you': One year after on-campus shooting, Saint Francis pays tribute to victims

June 15, 2023


Saint Francis Health System and community leaders take part in memorial events related to the one-year anniversary of a deadly shooting on a Saint Francis campus. From left are Tulsa Police Department Chief Wendell Franklin; Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum; Dr. Ryan Parker, associate chief medical officer, Saint Francis Health System; and Dr. Cliff Robertson, Saint Francis president and chief executive. Photo courtesy: Saint Francis Health System

On June 1, Saint Francis Health System in Tulsa, Oklahoma, marked the year anniversary of a shooting on its flagship campus that took the lives of a medical assistant, two physicians and a patient's family member.

During a press conference and memorial Mass, leaders of the health system and community mourned those who died, thanked the law enforcement officers and other first responders who acted courageously in the aftermath of the tragedy and praised the health care workers who have remained committed to their healing mission despite the pain they endured with the loss of the four victims.

The leaders spoke of the sacredness of every life lost and the need for the community to continue to draw together to heal from the trauma they'd experienced.

"It is hard to believe a year has passed," said Dr. Ryan Parker at the news conference. She said, "To the families, our hearts still break for you. … The scars and sorrow will always be a part of us." Parker is Saint Francis Health System associate chief medical officer.

'Stronger still'
The shooting took place June 1, 2022, in an orthopedics and sports medicine office on the campus of Saint Francis Hospital in Tulsa. A 45-year-old man who police said was enraged about pain he was suffering following back surgery performed by a Saint Francis physician arrived at the clinic armed with a semiautomatic rifle and a handgun. A letter later found on the shooter stated his intent was to murder that physician and anyone who got in the way.

The man fatally shot four people and himself. The victims were Dr. Preston J. Phillips, an orthopedic surgeon who was the shooter's target; Dr. Stephanie J. Husen, a sports medicine specialist; Amanda Glenn, a medical assistant; and William Love, a patient's family member.

At a press conference the day after the shooting, Dr. Cliff Robertson, president and chief executive of Saint Francis Health System, said the murders had changed Saint Francis, but the catastrophe would not deter the hospital community from pursuing its healing mission. He vowed at the time that "Saint Francis will come out of this even stronger still."

Supported in prayer
The day prior to the one-year anniversary, the health system hosted an adoration that lasted about a day. Bishop David Konderla of the Tulsa diocese celebrated the memorial Mass on June 1.

During the press conference, Robertson expressed gratitude for how supportive the Tulsa community had been and for how they'd been praying for the Saint Francis staff. Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum hailed the numerous first responders, including police officers who ran toward the danger in the clinic after the first 911 calls came in to secure the building; the firefighters who arrived to aid survivors; law enforcement agencies from the county, state and federal level who converged upon the campus to support the Tulsa police; and the personnel who staffed a reunification center on the campus.

Bynum called these responders heroes.

Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin spoke of the importance of resiliency and hope. He said his hope is that the Tulsa community emerges from the shooting tragedy better than it was before it.

Parker, the associate chief medical officer, said while the healing process has been long, painful and messy for many at Saint Francis and in the broader Tulsa community, the healing is indeed in progress. She said the community would never forget those taken away in the violence of June 1, 2022.

At the memorial Mass, Bishop Konderla consecrated the health system to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This means he formally entrusted the health system and its staff, patients and visitors — past, present and future — to God's blessings of mercy and healing.

In an online video explaining what this consecration means, Sr. Marie Josepha Kulczny, RSM, Saint Francis vice president of mission and ministry, explained that the consecration is an act of faith by the health system, placing the health system under the heart of God. She said the heart of Christ gives meaning to suffering. She said people encounter one another in woundedness, and consecration invites the Lord to heal that woundedness.

Memorial page:

Dedication to the Sacred Heart of Jesus:



Copyright © 2023 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States
For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3490.

Copyright © 2023 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States

For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3490.