(COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.) — Neighbors of the man accused of killing three people — including a police officer — in a shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs described him as “kind of strange” and looking “real mean,” but they say he mostly kept to himself.
Police and federal agents on Saturday used a bomb robot to search the mobile home and storage shed on the property in Hartsel, Colorado, where alleged shooter Robert Dear, 57, lived.
Neighbors said he lived there with a woman but they did not know what their relationship was, because they rarely spoke.
Zigmund Post, one of Dear’s neighbors, said the last time he saw the man was Wednesday, outside the post office, and he looked “kind of strange … real mean.”
Dear made an impression on Post the first time they met, he said, because he immediately gave him anti-Obama pamphlets.
“That was kind of weird that within three minutes of meeting somebody, they’re already wanting to give you that kind of stuff,” Post said.
“You could tell he wasn’t that friendly of a guy,” said Gary Murr, another Hartsel resident. “He sure didn’t smile or nothing. He would just answer a question and that’s it.”
After the suspected shooter entered the Planned Parenthood clinic Friday, he engaged in a standoff with police that lasted for hours, authorities said. Shots were fired at 11:38 a.m., police said, and Dear was taken into custody at 4:52 p.m.
The standoff came to an end when police officers entered the building and began shouting at the suspect, according to Colorado Springs Lt. Catherine Buckley. It was then that officers got “him to surrender and he was taken into custody,” Buckley said.
While police haven’t released a motive for the shooting or said whether the Planned Parenthood clinic was the intended target, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said, “We can speculate.”
“It happened at a Planned Parenthood center … my suspicions are that has a lot to do with the motive,” Suthers said, adding that he was not aware of any threats to this clinic.
Three were killed, including a University of Colorado-Colorado Springs campus police officer identified as Garrett Swasey. The other two victims haven’t been identified.
At least nine others were injured.
In a statement, Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards said: “Our hearts go out to the families and loved ones of the brave law enforcement officers who put themselves in harm’s way in Colorado Springs. We are profoundly grateful for their heroism in helping to protect all women, men and young people as they access basic health care in this country.”
President Obama said in a statement, “The last thing Americans should have to do, over the holidays or any day, is comfort the families of people killed by gun violence — people who woke up in the morning and bid their loved ones goodbye with no idea it would be for the last time.”
“This is not normal,” he added. “We can’t let it become normal. If we truly care about this — if we’re going to offer up our thoughts and prayers again, for God knows how many times, with a truly clean conscience — then we have to do something about the easy accessibility of weapons of war on our streets to people who have no business wielding them. Period. Enough is enough.”
Dear was being held on no bond as he awaited his first court appearance scheduled for Monday. Jail records didn’t list charges but showed him being held on two administrative holds.
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