WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) released the following statement ahead of the funeral service for Dr. Preston Phillips, one of the four people murdered earlier this month in a mass shooting at a medical building in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
“This weekend, family, friends, and loved ones will gather to honor the memory of Dr. Preston Phillips. A beloved member of his community, and a man who dedicated his life to serve and heal and treat others, Dr. Phillips’ life was cut unfairly short because of this uniquely American epidemic of gun violence. Dr. Phillips was a humble, gracious, and loving husband, father, and brother who dedicated himself to his family and his practice, where he performed countless surgeries in service of patients here in America and all the way to Africa. It is a testament to his passion for his work that an operating room in a clinic in Togo bears his name. Dr. Phillips also spent eight years living in Seattle and working at Swedish Medical Center with Seattle Orthopedics. Seattle remembers him for his tremendous contributions, for his heart and for his deep integrity to his profession. Dr. Phillips leaves behind a community and a family that loved and cherished him deeply.
“This tragedy has also struck close to home. Dr. Phillips was the father of Elise Phillips, a valued member of my staff team in Washington, DC, and I and our whole office grieve with Elise and her family. There are no words to convey the depth of the grief and unfairness of this tragedy. Nothing we can say can bring back a devoted father who did so much to save the lives of others as a doctor. And nothing will ease the pain of his wife and three children who have to bury him far too soon. My team and I are doing all we can to support Dr. Phillips’ family in the coming days and months, and I will be attending the service in Tulsa this weekend at the invitation of the family.
“Even as they grieve the loss of such an incredible man, Dr. Phillips’ family has set up a scholarship fund in his name. The Epsilon Iota Boulé – Dr. Preston J. Phillips Scholarship Fund will seek to honor the legacy of Dr. Phillips by helping racial and ethnic minority high school students attend college and university.
“In the meantime, as a Member of Congress, I will do everything I can to honor the life of Dr. Phillips and the lives of countless others lost to gun violence by ensuring tragedies like this never happen again. Last week, the day after the Tulsa shooting, I and the Judiciary Committee held a 10-hour markup on a package of gun safety legislation. This week, the House of Representatives passed a necessary and lifesaving package of gun safety legislation to raise the age of purchase for assault rifles to 21, control the sale of “ghost guns”, limit the number of rounds in a magazine, and require the safe storage of firearms. We also hope to pass an assault weapons ban soon to take these weapons of war off our streets. All eyes are now on the Senate and whether Senators will have the political will and courage to finally stand up and say enough is enough. So many lives depend on it.
“The Protecting Our Kids bill won’t bring Dr. Phillips back. It won’t bring the children and adults cruelly slaughtered in Tulsa, Uvalde, and Buffalo. But I hope that it brings a degree of comfort to Dr. Phillips’ family and all the families of the ones we lost that we in Congress will not stop until we bring an end to the gun violence crisis that has plagued our country for far too long.”