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A Wright County man was sentenced Friday to life in prison plus 72 years for last year’s attack on a medical clinic in Buffalo, Minnesota, that killed one employee and seriously injured four.

Gregory Ulrich, 68, attacked the Allina Health clinic on February 9, 2021, shooting five people and detonating three pipe bombs. Prosecutors alleged that Ulrich attacked the clinic because he was upset that doctors refused to give him prescriptions for opioid painkillers.

Judge Katherine McPherson said during Ulrich’s sentencing that she had no words to describe the “horror and tragedy” of his attack.

“A medical clinic is a place where people go for help and assistance. This is the place where employees report every single day. They report work to help others,” McPherson said. “This is not a place where people expect to be shot.”

None of the victims was willing to testify about the impact on the victim in sentencing. Wright County Attorney Brian Lutes said they didn’t want to give Ulrich any extra attention. Lutes pointed to Ulrich’s actions during the testimony of the survivors in court as evidence of his spinelessness.

“When you talk about what a coward this person is, you have nothing to look at except their behavior when they testified,” Lutes said. “When they were testifying in front of him, he put his head on the table and did not even look at [at] those innocent, defenseless women he shot.”

People hugging near the courthouse

Allina Health staff and supporters embrace outside the Wright County Justice Center earlier this month after Gregory Ulrich was convicted of first-degree murder for a mass shooting he staged in Buffalo, Minnesota, in 2021.

Matt Sepik | MPR news

Lutes said the only bright spot after the shooting was the “endless support” from the community of medical professionals and others affected by the attack.

Earlier this month, Ulrich was found guilty on 11 counts, including first-degree murder for the murder of paramedic Lindsey Overbey and four separate counts of attempted first-degree murder.

McPherson ruled that Ulrich should serve his sentence for murder and attempted murder one after the other, not simultaneously. At the same time, his 45-month sentence for detonating bombs during a terrorist attack will be served. McPherson also ordered Ulrich to pay economic compensation for his crimes.

Gregory Paul Ulrich

Booking photo of Gregory Paul Ulrich after the 2021 Allina Health clinic shooting.

Wright County Sheriff’s Office, via AP

Asked if he had any comments prior to sentencing, Ulrich told the court that he was not trying to escape responsibility for his actions, but that he believed others, including medical professionals, were also responsible. He assured that he was “not ashamed of anything.”

Dr. Andrew Burgdorf, who issued a restraining order against Ulrich in 2018, said in a written statement to MPR News that he believed the shooting could have been prevented because of the public statements made by Ulrich at the time.

“I was incredibly tormented that there was nothing more I could do, either medically or legally, to prevent this, despite the fact that I was his doctor, well aware of his mental health and unrelenting hatred,” said Burgdorf. “We made it too easy for him to legally purchase firearms and explosives to finish what he promised me to do – I knew he would do it. And he did. “

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