ER doctor targeted by former fiancé marks second Purdue grad killed in Chicago hospital shooting
CHICAGO, Ill. – Family members and friends are mourning the death of Dr. Tamara O’Neal, a Purdue graduate working as an emergency medicine doctor at Mercy Hospital.
She was killed by her former fiancé while walking into the hospital Monday afternoon.
Witnesses saw 32-year-old Juan Lopez and O’Neal arguing in the parking lot. O’Neal’s friend tried to intervene, but Lopez “lifted up his shirt and displayed a handgun.”
The friend ran into the hospital to call for help, and gunfire began seconds later.
Lopez shot O’Neal once, and when she fell to the ground, he “stood over her and shot her three more times,” a witness named James Gray said.
Lopez went on to kill Chicago PD Officer Samuel Jimenez and pharmacy resident and fellow Purdue grad Dr. Dayna Less.
Lopez also died, but it’s unclear as to whether he was shot by police or killed himself.
O’Neal, 38, is originally from La Porte, Indiana. She was described as being “dedicated to her church” and having a “heart of gold,” according to Chicago 5.
She was admired by her colleagues who say she was a hard worker, tenacious, and a stand-out doctor.
O’Neal graduated from Purdue University in 2002 with an undergraduate degree in psychology and a minor in pre-medicine.
Purdue University issued this statement:
“We are proud of Tamara and Dayna for the lives of service they chose to pursue. We are deeply grateful and admiring of officer Jimenez for his sacrificial bravery that spared other innocent lives.”
While at Purdue she volunteered as an after-school tutor and mentor for at-risk youth in grades 6-12, according to the National Medical Fellowships.
As a medical school student at Southern Illinois University, she showed her leadership skills through outstanding volunteer work as a Hands-Only CPR Trainer in Illinois Heart Rescue Project outreach programs for underserved populations.
She also served as education chair and secretary of the UIC Chapter of the Student National Medical Association, and she completed several research projects to educate both health professionals and underserved populations on how to improve community healthcare.
A GoFundMe page is raising money for a memorial find here.