Medical clinic violence in MN - the immediate aftermath

The harrowing bomb scene which led to 1 dead and several injured at a Minnesota medical clinic did not have its genesis in some sort of terrorist act at the hands of the perpetrator. The 67 year-old suspect, later detained by police, left a trail of angst directed not at society at large, but at the clinic at which he received medical care.

Authorities are confident that Ulrich acted alone. He is expected to appear in court Thursday morning after charges are filed along with further specifics about the shooting and his motive likely to be disclosed.

Raymond Zandstra, who rented a room from [suspect, Paul] Ulrich for about 18 months until July, said he was not surprised when he heard law enforcement on television reveal who was in jail.

Zandstra, who now lives in Maple Lake, said Ulrich has been upset that a doctor “wouldn’t give him high doses of painkillers. There would be a month’s worth of painkiller, and he’d have that gone in a week and a half. He’d get a buzz on them.”

He wasn’t without a criminal history.

He had a pending case for minor drug possession; his most recent appearance was on Feb. 5. The records show that an earlier case, in which he was accused of violating a harassment order, was dismissed after he was found mentally unfit to go to trial. An official wrote that Ulrich had previously applied for a permit to purchase a firearm, but was denied. In a presentence report written on the harassment violation order case, a court official argued that it was “highly recommended that (Ulrich) not be allowed to have use or possession of any dangerous weapons or firearms as a condition of his probation.”

Buffalo resident Walter Rohde said he was shocked to hear that his neighbor was the man who shot several people at the Allina clinic on Tuesday. “I just knew him as a kindly old man,” said Rohde, who lives just a few doors down from Ulrich in the same trailer park. “He liked to drink, I can tell you that much.”

Rohde said Ulrich helped him build a shed over the summer, and would often come over to sit at his fire ring in the evenings to chat. “From what I know, a kind old man, retired. And to hear that he was a suspect, what the hell?”

Now, those who knew him are trying to make sense of it all.

Raymond Zandstra, who rented a room from Ulrich for about 18 months until July, said he was not surprised when he heard law enforcement on television reveal who was in jail.

Zandstra, who now lives in Maple Lake, said Ulrich has been upset that a doctor “wouldn’t give him high doses of painkillers. There would be a month’s worth of painkiller, and he’d have that gone in a week and a half. He’d get a buzz on them.”

Urlich was so irate that he put the physician’s name on a sign calling the doctor “a crook and just no good,” and attached it to the mobile home’s shed “facing the main road going to the hospital so everybody could see it.”

Was this an extreme example of the type of patient dependent on chronic opioid therapy, or a man who simply reached a breaking point in a society within which he existed but increasingly feared?

Michael L. Douglas @doctorpundit

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