Planned Parenthood Gunman Gives Up After Colorado Standoff That Left 3 Dead | us news

Planned Parenthood Gunman Gives Up After Colorado Standoff That Left 3 Dead

28 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Colorado shooting: 3 killed, 9 injured in attack on family planning center.

A lone gunman laid siege to a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado yesterday, killing three people — including a police officer — and wounding at least eight others before surrendering to authorities after a deadly five-hour standoff, officials say. It’s unclear why the suspect, who was not identified last night, stormed the building around noon Mountain time with what authorities called a “long gun,” prompting nearby businesses to lock down while heavily armed police and federal agents exchanged fire with him while freeing people trapped inside, Colorado Springs police Lt. Mountain time — more than five hours after an active shooter was first reported at the health-care clinic, spawning confusion that lasted through the afternoon over whether the gunman was at large or holed up at the medical facility with staff and patients. An unknown number of people were evacuated during the standoff — some wrapped in blankets in the blowing snow — to a nearby Veterans Administration clinic.

Catherine Buckley said. “We don’t have any information on this individual’s mentality, or his ideas or ideology,” Buckley said, adding, “to even speculate on a motive would not be reasonable.” One of the five police officers wounded in the rampage was killed, police officials said. Suffolk and Nassau county police announced in a news releases that they were also increasing patrols around all Planned Parenthood locations. “We’re contacting these facilities to gather any intelligence and to observe the way out of the locations,” said Suffolk County police Deputy Commissioner Tim Sini. A Reuters photographer at the scene saw a man in a white T-shirt, with his hands cuffed behind his back, being taken out of an armored police vehicle and placed in an unmarked squad car.

Buckley said investigators were still scouring the inside of the building last night and stressed that it would take authorities “hours, probably days” to fully process the scene. Authorities said they don’t know the motive of the gunman or whether the shooter had any connection to Planned Parenthood, a national women’s health care providers that offers abortions at some clinics. The slain lawman was identified as Garrett Swasey, 44, a campus police officer for the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs who joined city police in responding to the first reports of shots fired, authorities said. A law enforcement source told CBS News senior investigative producer Pat Milton the suspect — identified as Robert Dear, 57 — was being interviewed by authorities, including 1st Assistant U.S. But the president of the Rocky Mountains chapter of Planned Parenthood, Vicki Cowart, suggested a climate of rancor surrounding abortion in the United States sets the stage for such violence. “We share the concerns of many Americans that extremists are creating a poisonous environment that feeds domestic terrorism in this country,” she said.

Jennifer Motolinia hid behind a table inside the clinic and called her brother, Joan, who said he heard multiple gunshots in the background. “People were shooting for sure. Cowart told CNN separately that some of the clinic’s staff escaped the gunman by following security protocol and hunkering down in “safe rooms” built into the facility. The national non-profit group, devoted to providing a range of reproductive health services, including abortions, has come under renewed pressure in recent months from conservatives in Congress seeking to cut off federal support for the organization. Health centers associated with Planned Parenthood have been the target of threats and violence because of the organization’s role in providing abortions and lobbying for reproductive rights.

The state has also seen two horrific mass shootings, one in 2012 in an Aurora movie theater that left 14 people dead and 70 injured, the other in 1999 at Columbine High School, where 15 were killed, including the two gunmen who shot themselves. Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said authorities were able to help guide the movements of officers through the building by watching live feeds from surveillance cameras mounted inside. Abortion rights groups say threats against abortion providers rose sharply this summer in the wake of an undercover “sting” mounted by an antiabortion group that filmed one of its videos at a clinic in Denver. Police swarmed the area around the building after an emergency call reporting shots fired at about 11:30am Mountain Time (1830 GMT), and officers ultimately confronted the suspect inside the building, Buckley said.

Ambulances and police vehicles lined up at a nearby intersection and police told people via Twitter to stay away from the shooting scene because it was not secure. President Barack Obama was notified of the shooting by his Homeland Security adviser, Lisa Monaco, and “will be updated on the situation as necessary, a White House official said.

As in much of the rest of the country, abortion is a divisive issue in Colorado, figuring prominently in attack ads during last year’s US Senate race between incumbent Democrat Mark Udall and Republican challenger Cory Gardner, the winner of the election. The strip mall with the King Soopers grocery store is less than a half-mile away and police shut down the road where the shops are located. (TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. Many workers and shoppers in the area were told to hunker down in place, whether it be in the kitchen of their restaurant or the back seat of their car.

Clinics have reported nearly 7,000 incidents of trespassing, vandalism, arson, death threats, and other forms of violence since then, according to the abortion-rights group. Colorado Springs was the scene of a mass shooting on 31 October in which a gunman killed three people near downtown before dying in a shootout with police. The city, home to the US Air Force Academy and the US Olympic training center, is also a hub for conservative Christian groups such as Focus on the Family that oppose abortion. Brigitte Wolfe, who works at a Japanese restaurant across the street from the clinic, said she first learned something was amiss when police SWAT and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives vehicles pulled up out front.

She heard no gunshots. “We just thought it was some random whatever happening, and then we turned on the news and started seeing what was going on,’’ she said. Suddenly, about 3 p.m., police and ATF agents banged on the restaurant’s door “and told us to hide where there was no windows because the shooter was active,’’ Wolfe said.

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