On Friday, 57 year old Robert L. Dear, took an automatic rifle into a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs and when he was done some six hours later three people were dead. Dear, was arrested after surrendering to police. He had originally been described as a “white man in a trench coat with an assault rifle.” His motive for the attack is still not clear, and little is yet known about the gunman.
The clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado’s second largest city, has been repeatedly targeted for protests by anti-abortion activists. However, as of Saturday morning, no details about the two civilians killed in the shooting have been released. Five of the nine people injured were police officers. All of those injured were hospitalized and are either listed in good condition or have been released. Colorado Springs officials cited the quick work of police cornering the shooter as having prevented a much worse outcome.
Police swarming the scene pursued the man into the building, trading gunfire with the suspect as authorities tracked their movements from room to room by watching live video feeds from security cameras mounted inside. Police closing in on Dean managed to talk him into giving himself up inside, and he was taken into custody more six hours after the violence began.
One of their own was among the dead 44-year-old Garrett Swasey, a six-year veteran of the campus police force at the Colorado Springs branch of the University of Colorado. Swasey, who was married with two young children, was also a co-pastor at a local church.
The Planned Parenthood is located in a shopping center on the city’s Centennial Boulevard in a strip mall. All stores within the shopping center were on lockdown during the standoff, with staff and customers sheltering in place until the area were deemed safe by officials.
Local police have not been able to confirm that the women’s healthcare clinic was the target of the shooting, which seems to have begun in the parking lot, and then moved into the clinic. The original call for help came from the clinic’s address, according to multiple media reports. It appears that all of the clinic’s staff were safe. The clinic, like many Planned Parenthood locations, was equipped with safe rooms for precisely this kind of situation.