A gunman opened fire outside a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs early Friday afternoon.
At least 11 people were injured, including 5 police officers. The suspect is in custody after a standoff that lasted more than 5 hours, with the shooter holed up in the Planned Parenthood clinic.
Around 7 pm police released a statement saying they had the man in custody. Colorado Springs has provided a phone line for people who are sheltered in place as a result of the standoff to let their loved ones know that they are safe. They’re asking such people not to call 911 for the time being. Asking them to instead call 2-1-1.
The shooter did not target any of the other surrounding businesses, only the clinic. It appeared that he carried several items into the building upon entering.
There have been no details released yet on the identity of the shooter, those injured, or the extent of the injuries sustained by the victims. The man opened fire around 2pm with an AK-47 Assault Rifle. This of course brings up the epic complexity of gun control in the United States. The hot bed issues of Planned Parenthood and gun control are a source of heated discussions amongst many here.
Police are not sure of the man’s motives just yet, and if they were specifically targeting the clinic or not. Planned Parenthood has been a source of debate and scrutiny this year after false claims of mishandling and illegally selling fetal tissue came about earlier this year. The claims, probably a ploy by pro-life extremists and conservatives to cut government funding, proved to be untrue.
In a statement to ThinkProgress on Friday evening, Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains CEO Vicki Cowart said “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,” She did however, acknowledge that anti-abortion “extremists” have created a “poisonous environment that feeds domestic terrorism in this country” and that “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.”
Planned Parenthood is a great organization that provides women and men, whom otherwise might not be able to afford care, with services ranging from STD testing , birth control, abortion, family planning and education.
In an updated report police announced that 3 people died of their injuries, one being a 44-year-old police officer with the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs named Garrett Swasey was among those killed in the rampage. Two civilians also died, and nine other people, including five police officers, were wounded, though none seriously.
Officials identified the suspect as 57-year-old Robert Lewis Dear of South Carolina, and have not yet released any details on the man’s motives. Despite this fact, right-wing conservative Christians and pro-life extremists are actually cheering this man’s actions. In other words, they claim that a woman cannot have an abortion because it’s a life, but it’s acceptable to take life to prove a point. Dear was heard saying “no more baby parts” as police led him away.
They applaud murder when it agrees with their belief. And that is a sign of our very dis-eased society.
It’s truly heart breaking to see the state that we are living in. The hate and intolerance here is no different than that displayed by any other jihadist, extremist and terrorist.
For anyone not aware, abortion is far from the only thing Planned Parenthood offers. Crucial health and natal services are provided here for those who cannot afford private doctors.
Image: Cody Fisher/Fox 21 News.