Source: Suspect legally owned gun used in Buffalo clinic shooting | KSTP.com

Source: Suspect legally owned gun used in Buffalo clinic shooting

Gregory Ulrich Photo: Wright County Jail. Gregory Ulrich

Joe Augustine
Updated: February 12, 2021 06:13 PM
Created: February 12, 2021 03:39 PM

The man charged with shooting five people inside a health clinic in Buffalo this week had legally obtained the handgun despite his documented mental illness, a law enforcement source has confirmed to 5 INVESTIGATES.

Police say Gregory Ulrich walked into the Allina Health Clinic on Tuesday morning, pulled out a Smith and Wesson 9mm and fired off 11 shots, wounding four people and killing another — Lindsay Overbay.

The 67-year old man is charged with murder, attempted murder and setting off explosive devices. He is also charged with not having a permit to carry a pistol in public.

During a press conference on Thursday, investigators said they cannot comment on whether Ulrich was allowed to legally own a firearm because of privacy laws.

Questions remain about how Buffalo shooting suspect acquired a gun

However, a former roommate said he believed Ulrich had obtained a permit to purchase the firearm from the Buffalo Police Department.

"Weeks later, he has a brand new Smith and Wesson that he bought," Raymond Zandstra said.

A law enforcement source confirmed Ulrich was, in fact, granted a permit to purchase by the department.

5 INVESTIGATES has also learned that the department may not have had a choice, even though police knew Ulrich could be a danger to the public.

Husband of woman killed in Buffalo clinic shooting grieves, faith community works to begin healing process

Police said Ulrich had threatened to kill people at the clinic back in 2018, leading to a restraining order.

Ulrich was then charged with violating that order, but Buffalo City Attorney Scott Baumgartner dismissed the charge last year after Ulrich underwent a psychological evaluation and was found mentally incompetent, according to court records.

That should have prevented him from ever legally owning a firearm, under state law.

However, a court spokesperson confirmed that since the city attorney dismissed the case instead of a judge, Ulrich’s mental incompetence does not show up in most court records.

In a phone interview on Friday, Baumgartner said he was obligated to dismiss the case since it was only a misdemeanor charge.

"I believed I was following the rule," he said.

The dismissal created a potential loophole that could have forced police to issue Ulrich a permit to legally purchase a firearm even though he had been found mentally incompetent.

Minnesota is what’s known as a "shall issue" state, meaning police must issue a permit to purchase a firearm to someone who is not flagged as being ineligible. Police cannot use their own discretion to deny a permit application, even if they know someone is a risk to themselves or the public.

Baumgartner, who was only involved in Ulrich's previous criminal case for a few weeks after being retained as city attorney in April 2020, said he is not involved in civil matters such as whether or not someone can legally own a firearm.

"I have nothing to do with the flagging of anything," he said. "I don’t play in that arena. I just handle the criminal cases and do what I'm supposed to do under criminal rules."


Copyright 2021 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

Comment on Facebook

Human remains found in northeast Minneapolis, authorities investigating

Twin Cities African American leaders discuss importance of Juneteenth federal holiday

North Dakota man arrested in Bloomington kidnapping

Boys' high school volleyball tournament wraps up in Shakopee

UPDATE: Uptown crash suspect makes 1st court appearance, bail set at $1M

Child dies after violent incident with Woodbury mother, charges amended