Dr. Stephanie Husen went into medicine because she wanted to care for people the same way doctors cared for her after she broke her foot in a car accident, her ex-husband said.
“She wanted to be that individual helping people get better and make sure that they could have great lives even after a horrible injury,” John Reckenbeil said Thursday.
Husen was one of four people killed Wednesday as a gunman opened fire at Saint Francis Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma, police said. The gunman then appears to have killed himself.
The shooter was targeting Dr. Preston Phillips, whom he blamed for ongoing pain after back surgery in May, Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin said Thursday. In a letter found on his body, the gunman “made it clear that he came in with the intent to kill Dr. Phillips and anyone who got in his way,” Franklin said.
Husen and Phillips were killed along with Amanda Glenn and another man whose wife was a patient, William Love.
Dr. Preston Phillips, 59
Phillips was remembered as a “consummate gentleman” whom others would do well to emulate, those who worked with him said.
A graduate of Harvard Medical School, Phillips was an orthopedic surgeon with an interest in spinal surgery and joint reconstruction.
Cliff Robertson, the president and CEO of Saint Francis Health System, remembered Phillips as a doctor who felt a real calling to his profession and the care of his patients.
“He was — he is — a man that we should all strive to emulate,” Robertson said.
“The fact that some individual would go after Dr. Phillips is mind-blowing,” Robertson said at a news conference. “He’s one of those folks … his clinic cannot always be on time, because he will spend every minute with patients that they need.”
Robertson called Phillips’ death “the ultimate loss for Saint Francis and for Tulsa.”
Dr. Stephanie Husen, 48
Husen was a sports and internal medicine specialist at the Warren Center.
Reckenbeil, a lawyer in Greenville, South Carolina, remembered her as a caring and empathetic physician. The two met in Oklahoma City when Husen was a physical therapist about to start medical school.
The car accident and the terrible foot injury had given her a new perspective, he said.
“That was everything of why she wanted to get into sports medicine and orthopedics. She was 1 million percent committed to her patients.”
They were married in 2004 and divorced after five years. Reckenbeil who said he did not keep in touch with his ex-wife, recalled a heartwarming gesture — last year she mailed him a package containing pictures she had of his mother, who had died from cancer.
“That’s the type of person that she was,” he said. “Knowing how much I’m missing … my mom and she found these pictures that included my mom. And she sent them on to me. Very special.”
Amanda Dawn Glenn, 40
Described by her family as a devoted wife and mother, “Amanda always put everyone else first,” police said in a statement about the victims.
Glenn, who had been in the medical field for 18 years, was working as a receptionist at the office when the gunman attacked, police said.
She is survived by her husband and two sons.
“She was the happiest just being with her family, with the most amazing love for her boys and husband,” the statement distributed by police said.
William Love, 73
William Love was fatally shot as he helped his wife of 54 years, Deborah Love, according to his family. Deborah Love was a patient of Phillips, their daughter said.
“William Love’s family would like us to share that at the time of shooting, William heard the gunshots and knew his wife would not be able to escape the building on her own. He sacrificed his life for her,” police said.
Franklin, the police chief, said Thursday that the information he had was that a patient who was fatally shot held a door closed to allow others to escape.
William Love was retired from the Army, in which he served 27 years. He was a first sergeant and served a tour in Vietnam.
“My dad was always a protector of his wife, daughters, grandkids and great-grandkids,” his daughter Karen Denise Love said in a statement.