Suspect Robert Lewis Dear accused of opening fire at Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood; 3 dead, 9 injured

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COLORADO SPRINGS | A gunman who opened fire inside a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic was arrested Friday after engaging in gun battles with authorities during an hours-long standoff that killed three people and wounded nine others, officials said.

Two people and a police officer with the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs were killed in the rampage, law enforcement officials said.

A law enforcement official says the gunman has been identified as Robert Lewis Dear.

The official, who has direct knowledge of the case, said the shooter is from North Carolina. No other details were immediately available. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak about the ongoing investigation.

The university police department identified the officer killed as 44-year-old Garrett Swasey, a six-year veteran of the force.

Nine other people, including five police officers, were shot and are in good condition, police said.

The gunman is in custody. His name was not immediately released.

Authorities said they haven’t determined a motive or whether the shooter had any connection to Planned Parenthood.

“We don’t have any information on this individual’s mentality, or his ideas or ideology,” Buckley said.

Planned Parenthood released a statement that said it did not know the full circumstances or motives behind the attack, or whether the organization was the target.

A number of people were evacuated during the standoff — some wrapped in blankets in the blowing snow — to a nearby Veterans Administration clinic.

For several hours, the firing of a long gun was the only indication police had that the shooter was in the building, Lt. Catherine Buckley said. Officers finally made voice contact by shouting to him and convinced him to surrender, she said.

With the immediate threat over, authorities turned their attention to inspecting unspecified items the gunman left outside the building and carried inside in bags.

Three officers were shot while responding just before noon to the initial report of shots fired. More than two hours later, the gunman shot another officer in an exchange with police inside the clinic, Buckley said.

The suspect surrendered about five hours after entering the building.

The shots sent people inside the clinic racing for cover. Jennifer Motolinia hid behind a table inside the clinic and called her brother, Joan, who said he heard multiple gunshots in the background.

“She was telling me to take care of her babies because she could get killed,” Joan Motolinia said of his sister, the mother of three.

He rushed to the clinic but was frustrated because a police barricade kept him from getting close.

“People were shooting for sure. I heard someone shooting. There was a lot of gunfire. She was calm, she was trying to hide from those people,” he said.

Police inside the building ushered staff and patients to the second floor without saying why, employee Cynthia Garcia told her mother-in-law, Tina Garcia.

Then Cynthia Garcia heard gunshots, but she couldn’t tell where they were coming from, Tina Garcia told The Associated Press.

Police cordoned off the clinic, nearby medical offices and a shopping center. Authorities ordered everyone in the area to take shelter where they were.

Denise Speller, manager of a nearby hair salon, said she heard as many as 20 gunshots in less than five minutes.

She told The Gazette newspaper that she saw two officers near a bank branch, not far from the Planned Parenthood facility.

One of the officers appeared to fall to the ground and the other officer knelt down to help and then tried to get the officer to safety behind a patrol car, she said. Another officer told Speller to seek shelter inside the building.

“We’re still pretty freaked out,” Speller said by phone while still trapped inside the salon. “We can’t stop shaking.”

Shelley Satulla said she saw five or six people put on stretchers and placed in ambulances lined up next to King Soopers shopping center near the clinic.

Mike Pelosi, who works at a deli at a nearby King Soopers grocery store, said he heard over the store’s loudspeaker just before noon that nobody could leave the store.

The location of the shooting is less than 6 miles from the street where a man shot and killed two of three people before dying in a gun battle with police on Halloween day.

 

The Latest: Man says he heard shooting on call with sister

 The latest on the shooting near Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado.

10:10 p.m.

A law enforcement official says the gunman in an attack at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs has been identified as Robert Lewis Dear.

The official, who has direct knowledge of the case, said the shooter is from North Carolina. No other details were immediately available. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak about the ongoing investigation.

Police said three people, including a police officer, were killed in the attack on Friday. The gunman was taken into custody after an hourslong standoff and shootout.

Authorities say they haven’t determined a motive or whether the shooter had any connection to Planned Parenthood.

8:15 p.m.

The officer killed in the Planned Parenthood clinic shootings in Colorado Springs has been identified as 44-year-old Garrett Swasey (SWAY’-zee).

Swasey was a member of the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs Police Department. The university says Swasey had gone to the clinic to support Colorado Springs police after he learned of the shooting.

Swasey was a six-year veteran of the department.

Five other officers were wounded.

Mike Violette (vee-oh-LET’), executive director of the Colorado Fraternal Order of Police, says he can’t recall another incident in Colorado in which six officers were shot.

7:15 p.m.

Police say three people are dead after a shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs.

Those who died Friday include two civilians and one police officer from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.

The university is about 10 minutes away from the clinic and officials say the fallen officer responded to help city police with the shooting.

Mayor John Suthers says the community “mourns the loss of a very brave police officer.”

Nine other people are hospitalized and police say they are in good condition.

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6:55 p.m.

A law enforcement official says one police officer has been killed in the shooting rampage at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs.

The official said Friday the officer was with the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs.

The official, who has direct knowledge of the case, spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing and the official was not authorized to speak to the media.

Four other officers and six civilians were taken to hospitals.

Police say the gunman is in custody.

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5:12 p.m.

The mayor of Colorado Springs says a gunman in a shooting attack at a Planned Parenthood clinic is in custody.

Mayor John Suthers says he did not have any further details.

A shootout and standoff between the gunman and officers had been going on for hours Friday at the clinic.

Police say 11 people, including five officers, have been transported to area hospitals. Authorities do not have any further details on those wounded or whether there had been any fatalities in the attack.

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5 p.m.

Tina Garcia says her daughter-in-law is among those still inside a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs where a gunman is locked in a standoff with police.

Garcia said she spoke on the phone with Cynthia Garcia, who said that police ushered people to a floor of the building without telling them what was going on. Cynthia Garcia, who works at Planned Parenthood, heard gunshots, but couldn’t see where or from whom they were coming.

She took a photo out the window, which showed two law enforcement officers walking through the snow.

Tina Garcia told The Associated Press by text that her son was also on his way to work at the clinic when she called him and told him not to go in.

4:19 p.m.

Police say a standoff with a gunman inside a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs is ongoing.

Police Lt. Catherine Buckley said Friday says the gunman brought unspecified items into the building with him and it was “not a stabilized scene at this time.”

Buckley says that there are an unknown number of casualties in the attack, and she would not say how many civilians were wounded. She says at least four police officers have been wounded and there may be a fifth.

She says authorities are evacuating people from the Planned Parenthood building.

3:05 p.m.

Joan Motolinia said his sister, Jennifer, called him while she was hiding behind a table inside a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic as a gunman was shooting inside the building.

He said he heard a lot of gunshots Friday in the background.

“She was telling me to take care of her babies because she could get killed,” Motolinia said of the mother of three.

Motolinia rushed to the clinic after getting off the phone and was frustrated because a police barricade kept him from getting close to the building.

“People were shooting for sure. I heard someone shooting. There was a lot of gunfire. She was calm she was trying to hide from those people,” he said.

Police Lt. Catherine Buckley says civilians and four officers were wounded in the shooting.

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2:45 P.m.

Police say civilians have been injured in a shooting in Colorado Springs.

Police Lt. Catherine Buckley also said a fourth officer was wounded Friday inside a Planned Parenthood building in the latest exchange of gunfire with a shooter.

Buckley says she doesn’t know how many or how the civilians were injured.

Police say the gunman opened fire before noon on Friday. Three officers were said to be injured in an earlier exchange of gunfire with the shooter.

Officials say at least seven people have been taken to area hospitals. It is not known if that number includes the four officers.

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2:25 p.m.

Police say they are encountering gunfire as they search for a gunman at a shooting scene near a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs.

Police previously said the gunman had been contained Friday but later said they were still searching for the person.

Police say at least three officers have been injured but it’s not known if anyone else has been wounded.

There are at least eight ambulances waiting at an intersection near the clinic and a nearby shopping center.

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1:50 p.m.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Police say they are unsure about the location of a shooter in an attack near a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs that left three officers injured.

A witness says she heard as many as 20 shots in less than five minutes and saw an officer fall to the ground Friday during the shooting.

Denise Speller, manager of a nearby haircut salon, told The Gazette of Colorado Springs that she saw another officer kneel down to render aid to the officer who fell.

Commander Kirk Wilson told KKTV that two of the injured officers were evacuated and authorities were still trying to reach the third. He couldn’t immediately say how the officers were doing.

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1:10 p.m.

Police in Colorado Springs say three officers have been injured in a shooting near a Planned Parenthood clinic and the gunman has been contained

Commander Kirk Wilson told KKTV that two of the officers were evacuated Friday and authorities are still trying to reach the third.

He couldn’t immediately say how the officers were doing or how the gunman was contained.

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12:40 p.m.

Ambulances and police vehicles were lined up near an intersection near a Planned Parenthood clinic and Colorado Springs police told people via Twitter to stay away from the “active shooter scene” because it was not secure.

Police said on Twitter that people inside a nearby shopping center were told Friday to shelter in place.

No further details were available on the incident.

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12:10 p.m.

Police in Colorado Springs are responding to a report of an active shooter at a Planned Parenthood clinic.

Police Lt. Catherine Buckley said officers were deployed Friday and the situation has not been stabilized. She didn’t immediately have any other details.