(COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.) — A man accused of killing three people — including a police officer — in a shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs was monitored by security cameras as the dramatic standoff unfolded, an official said.
After the suspected shooter, identified by Colorado Springs Police as Robert Dear, 57, 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.
Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said he watched the situation, which he called “incredibly dramatic,” as it unfolded, through a security camera feed from inside the clinic that monitored the suspect’s movements.
“For the last hour he stayed in a stationary position and they could tell where he was,” Suthers told ABC News Saturday. “They were communicating that to the officers, the SWAT team officers that were in there. In fact, they were emailing diagrams of the building with marks where the suspect was.
“They were setting up for a possible intrusion by heavy equipment that could cut him off in a certain way that would trap him,” Suthers said. “But they were also, importantly, able to say that people in rooms that were far away from him could be extricated from the building, and that is in fact what happened.
“Just as they were getting ready to bring this to a resolution, he started yelling that he was willing to give up. And we watched that happen on these security cameras,” Suthers said.
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, 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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