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Gunman attacks Planned Parenthood clinic, killing three, before surrendering

Saturday, November 28, 2015

A gunman attacked a Planned Parenthood clinic yesterday in Colorado Springs, Colorado, killing three people, including one police officer, and injuring nine more, before he surrendered to police hours later. He exchanged fire with police in a standoff lasting around five hours.

There were a grocery store and a shopping mall nearby; police told those who were there to take "shelter in place".

Colorado Springs police lieutenant Cathrine Buckley said the police doesn’t "have any information on [the suspect’s] mentality, or his ideas or ideology".

Authorities said they received a report of shots fired at 11:38 a.m. local time (1838 UTC); the gunman was possibly carrying a "long gun" and maybe even propane tanks. Lieutenant Buckley said officers who entered the building "were able to shout to the suspect and make communication with him and that point they were able to get him to surrender and he was taken into custody". Buckley said police only made contact and communicated with the suspect hours into the ordeal. The suspect was arrested at 4:52 p.m. after he surrendered to police.

At a press conference yesterday afternoon, police said searching through and investigating the "huge crime scene" could take hours or even days. Explosives teams checked the scene for traps.

Vicki Cowart, president of the Rocky Mountains chapter of Planned Parenthood, said some staff hid in "safe rooms" in the clinic as a part of Planned Parenthood’s security protocol. Many anti-abortion protests have focused on the Colorado Springs clinic; it moved to its current location, which critics have called a "fortress", a few years ago.

Police evacuated the clinic, and cordoned off the clinic and nearby medical offices.

"Our hearts go out to everyone involved in this tragic situation", Cowart said in a statement released on Planned Parenthood’s website. "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. We share the concerns of many Americans that extremists are creating a poisonous environment that feeds domestic terrorism in this country."

The National Abortion Federation says at least eight murders have been committed in the US against abortion providers since 1977.


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