Minnesota man gets life in prison, and more, for 2021 clinic shooting

Gregory Ulrich, 68, attacked the Allina Health clinic on Feb. 9, 2021, shooting five people and setting off three pipe bombs.

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BUFFALO, Minn. -- A Wright County man was sentenced Friday to life in prison plus 72 years for his attack last year on a medical clinic in Buffalo, Minn., that left one staffer dead and four seriously injured.

Gregory Ulrich, 68, attacked the Allina Health clinic on Feb. 9, 2021, shooting five people and setting off three pipe bombs. Prosecutors argued that Ulrich attacked the clinic because he was upset doctors had denied him prescriptions for opioid painkillers.

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

“A medical clinic is a place that people go to seek care and help. It’s a place where staff report every single day. They report to work to help others,” McPherson said. “It’s not a place that people expect to be shot.”

None of the victims chose to give victim impact statements at sentencing. Wright County Attorney Brian Lutes said they didn't want to give Ulrich any additional attention. Lutes pointed to Ulrich’s actions during survivors’ testimony at court as proof of his lack of character.


Gregory Ulrich

”When you talk about what a coward this man is, you have nothing to look at but his behavior when they testified,” Lutes said. “When they testified in front of him, he laid his head on the table and wouldn’t even look [at] these innocent, defenseless women that he shot."

Lutes said the sole bright spot following the shooting has been the “never-ending support” from the community for the health care workers and others affected by the attack.

Ulrich was found guilty earlier this month on 11 counts, including first-degree murder for the killing of medical assistant Lindsay Overbay, and four separate counts of first-degree attempted murder.

McPherson ruled that Ulrich should serve the sentences for murder and attempted murder one after another, rather than at the same time. His 45-month sentence for setting off bombs during the attack will be served concurrently. McPherson also ordered Ulrich to pay economic restitution for his crimes.

Asked if he had any comments before he was sentenced, Ulrich told the court that he wasn’t trying to escape responsibility for his actions but that he believed others, including health care workers, were also responsible. He insisted that he was “not ashamed of anything.”

Dr. Andrew Burgdorf, who took out a restraining order against Ulrich in 2018, said in a written statement to MPR News that he believes the shooting was preventable because of public statements Ulrich made at that time.

“It has tormented me beyond belief that there was nothing more that I could have done medically or legally to prevent this, despite my role as his primary care physician with intimate knowledge of his mental health and unrelenting hatred,” Burgdorf said. “We made it all too easy for him to legally purchase a firearm and explosives to finish what he told me he would do — I knew he would. And he did. "


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