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TPD: Man arrested for threatening mass shooting at Hillcrest Medical Center

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Hillcrest HealthCare System
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Days after a mass shooting on the Saint Francis campus in Tulsa left five people dead, Tulsa police said Tuesday they'd arrested a man for threatening a copycat attack on another local hospital.

Police said 59-year-old Matthew Staerkel of Sapulpa was overheard by witnesses at Hillcrest Medical Center on Saturday as saying he planned to carry out a shooting there.

"Witnesses quoted Staerkel as saying, 'I better get pain meds after back surgery! If I don't get pain meds, I will do what that other guy did the other day! I would shoot up someone too if I didn't get pain meds,'" TPD said in a statement.

Police said the gunman in Wednesday's shooting at the Natalie Medical Building at Saint Francis targeted his orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Preston Phillips, because he blamed Phillips for pain he experienced following back surgery. The shooter allegedly killed Phillips, another doctor, a receptionist and a patient's husband before killing himself.

Jail records on Tuesday listed a Matthan Staerkel as being arrested early Sunday and held in the Tulsa County jail on a charge of a "terrorism hoax" on a $100,000 surety bond. Staerkel is due to appear before a judge in Tulsa County District Court on Friday.

Chris joined Public Radio Tulsa as a news anchor and reporter in April 2020. He’s a graduate of Hunter College and the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, both at the City University of New York.