At Least Three Killed in Shooting at Colorado Planned Parenthood
At least three people are confirmed dead after shooter Robert Lewis Dear of North Carolina stormed into a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on Friday.
Dear armed with a long firearm shot at police for several hours on Friday. According to the police, Officer Garrett Swasey, 44 and two others were killed. In addition, nine others were wounded, five of which were officers.
“We don’t have any information on this individual’s mentality, or his ideas or ideology,” Colorado Springs police Lt. Catherine Buckley said, according to the Associated Press.
“The perpetrator is in custody. The situation has been resolved. There’s no continuing peril to the citizens of Colorado Springs,” Mayor John Suthers told reporters. “But there’s a huge crime scene that has to be processed. We have to determine exactly how many victims there are.”
The Hill reports:
Police were able to end the incident, authorities said, when they stormed the clinic and shouted at the man to give himself up. Authorities feared for explosives inside of the building, noting that the suspect brought several unidentified objects with him.
“We don’t know what they are,” Buckley said. “We know that the suspect brought several items with him, and some of those are inside the Planned Parenthood building and some of them are out front of it.”
Several civilians were trapped inside of the clinic during the standoff, and police locked down nearby stores for several hours with customers and employees still inside.
Authorities said the initial 911 call reporting the shooting at 11:38 a.m. came from the Planned Parenthood facility.
Police spokeswoman Catherine Buckley said the clinic was the original site of the attack, though preliminary reports had indicated it may have been a nearby Chase Bank. The motive of the suspect was not immediately clear.
Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountain President Vicki Cowart said she did not know what drove the attack, but noted that a “poisonous environment” toward the issue of abortion may have played a part.
“We don’t yet know the full circumstances and motives behind this criminal action, and we don’t yet know if Planned Parenthood was in fact the target of this attack,” Cowart said in a statement. “We share the concerns of many Americans that extremists are creating a poisonous environment that feeds domestic terrorism in this country.”
“We will never back away from providing care in a safe, supportive environment that millions of people rely on and trust,” she added.
Bryan Hawke, 35, a chiropractor who was locked down in his office across the street from the Planned Parenthood facility, told The New York Times the clinic is the site of protests “probably six days a week,” sometimes drawing as many as 200 people.
Democratic primary front-runner Hillary Clinton sent out a tweet supporting Planned Parenthood while the standoff was still ongoing.
“Today and every day, we #StandWithPP,” she wrote.
Photo credit: Heavy.