Slain Doctor, Pharmacist Lived To Help Others | WBEZ
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Slain Doctor, Pharmacist Lived To Help Others

Tom and Glenda O’Neal say their daughter Tamara “Tammy” O’Neal liked the fast pace of the emergency room.

Her burgeoning career took her to several of Chicago’s hospitals.

“She didn’t want to be bored. She liked the excitement,” Glenda O’Neal told WBEZ while sitting in her daughter’s home in rural La Porte, Indiana on Tuesday afternoon.

Surrounded by family members, the O’Neals spoke about their 38-year-old daughter.

An emergency room physician at Mercy Hospital, she was gunned down by her ex-finance, 32-year-old Juan Lopez of Chicago, in what police are investigating as a domestic dispute. O’Neal was one of three victims killed by Lopez, including pharmaceutical resident Dayna Less and Chicago Police Officer Samuel Jimenez, who was responding to the call.

Lopez also died in the shootout. It is not yet clear if he took his own life or was killed by police.

The O’Neals declined to speak about Lopez but opened up about Tammy.

“Tammy believed in God. She prayed every time she worked with a patient,” Tom O’Neal said. “I think if there’s anything that also helps us bring peace to us is the fact that she did him.”

Tammy’s parents said she didn’t return text messages Monday as she always did. That’s when they knew something was wrong.

“I wish it was a dream,” Glenda O’Neal said. “[That] it wasn’t real. And my daughter was still healthy, with us and whole.”

Brian Less, father of Dayna Less, joined Tom and Glenda as grieving parents.

"Dayna was a very special person. She had unique gifts,” Less said.

Less of St. John, Indiana said Dayna, 25, suffered and overcame debilitating headaches as a teen.

Dayna, who lived in Chicago, graduated from Purdue University’s pharmacy school and started her residency at Mercy Hospital in July.

“I do not want Dayna remembered as a victim,” Brian Less said. “She was wanting and willing to help other people for her whole life.”

Michael Puente covers Northwest Indiana for WBEZ. Follow him on Twitter at @MikePuenteNews.

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