COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - A police officer and two civilians were killed during a standoff with a gunman at a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs early Friday afternoon. Nine other people were injured in the attack, including five Colorado Springs Police Department officers.
Colorado Springs Police Lt. Catherine Buckley said Friday evening that the slain officer, identified as Garrett Swasey, 44, was from the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs police department.
UPDATE: shooting at Planned Parenthood. Dead: UCCS police officer/2 civilians Wounded: 5 #CSPD officers/4 civilians- all in good condition
The shooting was first reported at approximately at 11:38 a.m. at 3480 Centennial Boulevard. That is the address of the Planned Parenthood-Rocky Mountains clinic, located on the north side of the city.
Officers responding to reports of an active shooter immediately encountered gunfire coming from inside the building. As the gunbattle continued for hours, officers evacuated "numerous" people from other areas of the two-story building and interviewed them for information.
-- Motives for suspect Robert Dear --
Gunfire was the only kind of contact police had with the suspect until they were able to move in and get close enough to shout instructions. They eventually convinced him to surrender shortly before 5 p.m.
A law enforcement official told the Associated Press that Robert Lewis Dear is from North Carolina. No other details about the gunman were immediately available, including whether he had any connection to Planned Parenthood or what he was doing in Colorado Springs.
"We don't have any information on this individual's mentality, or his ideas or ideology," Buckley told reporters.
Planned Parenthood said all of its staff at the clinic was safe. The organization said it did not know the circumstances or motives behind the attack or whether the organization was the target.
There were no immediate details about the two civilians killed in the attack. Five officers and four others were hospitalized in good condition, police said.
Buckley said that in addition to the CSPD, several law enforcement agencies responded, including representatives from the El Paso County Sheriff's Office, University of Colorado - Colorado Springs, Colorado Bureau of Investigation, FBI and ATF.
"Certainly it could have been much, much worse if it were not for the heroism of our police officers to corner the person in the building," Colorado Springs Fire Chief Chris Riley said.
In addition to a "long gun," Buckley said the suspect brought several items that he placed inside and outside the building.
“Until we get up there to check out those items and ensure what those are, we can’t say what they are," she said. Authorities were concerned that he had planted improvised explosive devices meant to cause even more destruction. As of late Friday, police did not say what was found.
ABC News says President Barack Obama has been briefed on the situation throughout the day.
Statement from Gov. John Hickenlooper:
“We hold the Colorado Springs community in our thoughts and prayers. The bravery and courage of local law enforcement officers have prevented a dire situation from being far worse, and we are all grateful. We are in contact with Mayor Suthers. All state Public Safety resources are at the ready, if and when needed.”
-- Witnesses describe panic --
Bystanders in nearby businesses, including a grocery store and a bank where some of the wounded had fled to, were ordered to remain sheltered in place during the entire standoff. CSPD officers were assigned to stand guard at the various businesses while the standoff was ongoing.
About 150 people at a King Soopers were sheltered in place for almost seven hours and were bused to an American Furniture Warehouse parking lot.
Witnesses described a chaotic scene when the shooting first started.
Ozy Licano was in the building's parking lot when he saw someone crawling toward the clinic's door. He tried to escape in his car when the gunman looked at him.
"He came out, and we looked each other in the eye, and he started aiming, and then he started shooting," Licano said. "I saw two holes go right through my windshield as I was trying to quickly back up and he just kept shooting and I started bleeding."
Licano drove away and took refuge at the King Soopers.
"He was aiming for my head," he said of the gunman. "It's just weird to stare in the face of someone like that. And he didn't win."
Inside the clinic, terrified patients and staff hid wherever they could find cover. Jennifer Motolinia ducked under a table and called her brother, Joan, to leave him final instructions for the care of her three children in case the gunman found her.
Joan Motolinia said he could hear gunshots in the background as his sister spoke. "She was telling me to take care of her babies because she could get killed," he said.
For others, the first sign that something was wrong was when police officers appeared and ushered people to the building's second floor. Planned Parenthood employee Cynthia Garcia told her mother, Tina Garcia, that the officers wouldn't say why they were gathering everybody together - then she heard the gunshots.
Her daughter and the others were holed up there for hours while the standoff continued, Tina Garcia said.
Some people managed to escape the building and flee to a nearby bank. An armored vehicle was seen taking evacuees away from the clinic to ambulances waiting nearby.
The following is a map of where the shooting occurred: