This afternoon, the case against Gregory Ulrich, who is on trial for the shooting and bombing of the Allina Crossroads Clinic in Buffalo that left medical assistant Lindsay Overbay dead and four others critically injured, went to the jury.
Against the advice of his attorneys, Ulrich took the stand this morning as the only witness called by the defense. Prior to the jurors coming into the courtroom, Ulrich’s defense counsel asked for a mistrial, citing recent mass shootings that the defense felt would be prejudicial to this case. Judge Catherine McPherson denied the request, but added language to the jury instructions to include that the evidence only from this case should considered and not other cases.
On the stand, Ulrich said he had suffered back pain for almost 40 years stemming from a 1977 workplace accident and it wasn’t until 2016 that technology had advanced to the point that he could have the needed back surgery. It was following the surgery that his dispute with the Allina Clinic began.
He claimed he was in excruciating pain in weeks after the surgery and a nurse assigned to visit him at home got in a “tugging match” with Ulrich over narcotics in his possession. Ulrich said she made a false statement that he had overdosed on oxycodone and he was denied the ability to get pain medication prescribed to him.
Ulrich said he reinjured his back while attempting suicide in 2017 because of the pain he suffered. He claimed he tried to get someone to help him and wrote more than 40 letters for assistance, ranging from local law enforcement to then-President Donald Trump.
Ulrich stated that in the months leading up to the shooting, he was in extreme pain and having nightmares – “I was dead,” he said.
He admitted to making four pipe bombs and buying a Smith & Wesson 9mm handgun that was used in the shooting. However, he said his intention when he went to Allina Crossroads Clinic was do property damage, not kill anyone.
He said his motive was to bring attention to his issue and brought the handgun to shoot out windows. He said he needed something to “sensationalize” his situation to garner media attention. He admitted under direct examination that he shot all of the victims, claiming he shot each once, adding that once he shot the first victim at the reception desk, “I lost control” of the situation. He said the purpose for bringing bombs was to blow up an X-ray machine and do more damage to the Allina property.
He said he didn’t intend to hurt people, which is why he informed dispatch on a 911 call to get ambulances to the scene.
Under cross examination, Assistant County Attorney Shane Simonds asked Ulrich more than 100 questions – the vast majority being questions that could be answered “yes” or “no.” In that questioning, Ulrich admitted to buying items needed to make bombs, assembling the bombs, purchasing a handgun in Monticello and purchasing the ammunition used in the shooting.
The jury had previously seen video from inside the clinic that showed the shooting and bombing. In response to a question about the exact timeline, Ulrich said, “Everything happened so fast.” When reminded that everything was caught on camera, Ulrich stated, “If the video shows it, I believe it.”
Ulrich shot one victim at the reception desk, one hiding under a desk and three employees fleeing in a back hallway. He admitted firing the shot that killed Overbay.
For the closing statement, more than a dozen Allina employees – many wearing their work scrubs – were in attendance and Wright County Attorney Brian Lutes and Simonds delivered an emotionally charged summary of what took place inside the clinic on Feb. 9, 2021. As part of the presentation, they showed a video filmed by Ulrich in late-December, 2020 in which he stated he should “grab a pistol and shoot as many nurses as possible.” He also attempted to lure employees that were in hiding to come out of offices by yelling, "Help!"
This afternoon, the defense made its closing statement, claiming Ulrich intended to damage the Allina property but did not premeditate shooting the five victims, and, at approximately 1:30 p.m., the case was placed in the hands of the jury to render a verdict.