MSNBC| COLORADO SPRINGS — Robert Lewis Dear, 57, of North Carolina, yielded to law enforcement following a five-hour ordeal Friday in which he dressed in hunting gear, fired shots haphazardly at people in the Planned Parenthood clinic and wandered the halls shooting through walls with an assault-style rifle. His irrational shooting spree resulted in the killing of three people, including police officer Garrett Swasey. Dear surrendered as officers were navigating a sniper in place to shoot him. Officers shouted at Dear who then agreed to submit to their authority.
USAToday| Police were able to reach many people in the building, during the lengthy standoff, including some only yards away from the gunman. Deer was only blocked from law enforcement by office walls. Some had taken refuge in a “safe room” established in case of emergencies. Police have still not determined why Dear committed such a rampage. Police said that items Dear brought to the scene had been secured and were no longer a threat. They initially thought that some of the items, like an air tank, might be an explosive device.
MSNBC| Catherine Buckley, spokeswoman for the Colorado Springs Police Department said “We don’t have any information on this individual’s mentality, or his ideas or ideology. The dead officer identified as Garrett Swasey, 44, a six-year veteran with the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs police force. He was one of many officers from the surrounding area who assisted police in the incident.
USAToday| In a statement issued on Saturday, President Obama said the suspect’s “so-called motive” was unknown, but what is known is that people, including a police officer, died and “more Americans and their families had fear forced upon them.” “This is not normal,” Obama said. “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.” “May God bless Officer Garrett Swasey and the Americans he tried to save — and may He grant the rest of us the courage to do the same thing,” the president said.
The Associated Press| “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,” Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains said in a statement. “We share the concerns of many Americans that extremists are creating a poisonous environment that feeds domestic terrorism in this country.” The Planned Parenthood clinic has been the site of many protests by anti-abortion advocates over the years. It provides abortions and other women’s reproductive health services, but it is not known whether Friday’s shooting was ideologically motivated. One anti-abortion group of about 70 people gathers for prayer vigils on Thursdays and Fridays, but had left this week by 10 a.m., about an hour and a half prior to the beginning of the shooting spree began. Joseph Martone Jr., a frequent protester at the clinic, told The Gazette that he was appalled by the shooting incident. Martone, who was out-of-state Friday, is an adamant protester at the center and has been arrested, jailed and paid fines for his trespassing, but said he prefers prayer over violence. It was the second shooting incident in a month in the city of around 430,000 people. On Oct. 31, a gunman shot and killed three people near downtown Colorado Springs before he died in a shootout with police.
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