BUFFALO, Minn. — Videos obtained by KARE 11 show the moments before a mass shooting suspect went into an Allina clinic where he’s accused of killing one person and wounding four others last week.
The never-before-seen videos show Gregory Ulrich, 67, nonchalantly walking from a Buffalo Super 8 motel onto a public transportation bus on Tuesday morning, Feb. 9, while carrying a briefcase that investigators say was full of explosives.
“You going to Crossroad Allina Clinic?” the driver asked Ulrich.
“Yes,” he responded.
Wearing a heavy brown jacket, he casually tossed the briefcase onto the seat next to him, buckled his seat belt and told the driver “Okee doke.”
During the five-minute ride on an otherwise empty bus, there was no sign of the loaded 9mm Smith & Wesson handgun, two loaded magazines or the Ziploc bag full of extra ammunition that authorities said he was carrying. He was quiet and appears calm.
After he arrived at the clinic parking lot, he pulled up his facemask, tucked his glasses into his pocket, grabbed his briefcase and then politely told the driver “Thank you” before exiting.
“Bye now,” the driver responded.
Video shows him walking toward the clinic entrance as the Trailblazer Transit bus pulled away.
Moments later, the attack inside the clinic began.
Following the mass shooting where authorities say three bombs were also detonated, Ulrich was charged with one count of second degree murder, four counts of first degree attempted murder, one count of negligently causing an incendiary device to explode, and one count of carrying a pistol without a permit.
Ulrich’s former roommate told KARE 11 that the suspected shooter was given a legal permit to purchase the firearm, despite his documented history of threats of mass shootings, drug use and mental incompetency.
Last week, a KARE 11 investigation exposed what attorney and gun law expert Jim Fleming called a crack in the system that allowed the gun to be legally purchased.
“(It’s) what you could refer to as a perfect storm,” he said.
The Minnesota legislature had been warned about that storm last year, as part of a task force report examining what happens to criminal defendants who are found mentally incompetent to stand trial.
The report identified hundreds of “gap” cases, where the criminal charges were dismissed due to mental incompetence, but the individual did not go on to get treatment opening the door for them to possibly re-offend.
Ulrich appears to be a chilling example of such a case. He pleaded guilty in 2019 to violating a restraining order after he threatened a mass shooting at the Buffalo Allina hospital.
But the charge was ultimately dismissed by a city prosecutor, who wrote in an April 2020 court filing that Ulrich was “found mentally incompetent to proceed” in the case.
There are no records to indicate that he received any court-ordered treatment after the case was dropped.
Fast forward to last week and the video showing Ulrich on a bus and on his way, authorities say, toward doing exactly what he’d previously threatened.
In a statement, the public transportation provider, Trailblazer Transit, said the company “mourns the tragic shooting that took place in Buffalo and extends heartfelt sympathies to those impacted.”
“We are saddened that the shooting suspect used the public transit system for travel in Buffalo on February 9, 2021. There were no other passengers on the bus with the suspect, and the transit system did not have any knowledge or information that would lead anyone to believe any aggression would take place. Trailblazer Transit is committed to supporting the healing of our community in any way we can.”