A terrorist is in custody after he attacked a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado yesterday, but not before he murdered a policeman and two “civilians” and injured nine more people. As we’re all aware, Colorado Springs is a hotbed of right wing “Christian” evangelical groups.
Here’s the latest from Reuters: Police name suspect in Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooting.
The suspect in a deadly shooting at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic was named on Saturday as Robert L. Dear, 57, the Colorado Springs Police public affairs’ section said in a Tweet.
The gunman who stormed the clinic on Friday killed three people and wounded nine others before surrendering to police after a bloody siege lasting several hours inside the facility, authorities said.
Local news media reported that Dear was being held without bail.
As police traded gunfire with Dear, people in local businesses were told to shelter in place.
The rampage, which took place at a clinic that provides women’s health services including abortions, was believed to be the first fatal attack on a U.S. abortion provider in six years. Police have not discussed the suspect’s motives.
The assailant in Colorado Springs, Colorado’s second largest city, was armed with a rifle when he entered the clinic – a site repeatedly targeted for protests by anti-abortion activists – and opened fire shortly before noon on Friday, authorities said.
Police swarming the scene pursued the assailant 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.
Officers closing in on the gunman managed to finally talk him into giving himself up inside, and he was taken into custody more than five hours after the violence began.
Planned Parenthood released a statement in response to the terrorist attack on their clinic in Colorado Springs.
“The heart of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM) is broken tonight as we try to make sense of the horrific tragedy that struck our beloved health center in Colorado Springs, today. Our thoughts are with the all those who were impacted and particularly the families of the two civilians and one heroic law-enforcement officer whose lives were lost. We are grateful to report that all our staff are safe and accounted for and are hoping for the best possible outcomes for the others wounded in this attack.
“We are thankful to our security personnel and to the Colorado Springs Police Department, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department, and the UCCS campus officers, who came to our aid and served with such selfless valor. Their fast response, strength, and bravery undoubtedly saved countless lives today. We also appreciate that our Colorado Springs staff responded quickly following our security protocols.
“The information regarding the gunman’s motive remains unknown as does whether Planned Parenthood was targeted deliberately. PPRM’s top priority will always be the safety of our patients and staff. We maintain strong security measures and always work closely with law enforcement agencies to ensure our very strong safety record.
“We share the concerns of many Americans that the continued attacks against abortion providers and patients, as well as law enforcement officers, is creating a poisonous environment that breeds acts of violence. But, we will never back away from providing critical health care to millions of people who rely on and trust us every day.
Read the rest at the link. I think we can guess Dear’s motive, but I suppose we’ll have to wait to know for sure.
President Obama also released a statement.
President Barack Obama released a statement on Saturday calling for gun control in the aftermath of the mass shooting at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the day before.
“This is not normal,” Obama said. “We can’t let it become normal.”
He then called to curtail the “easy accessibility of weapons of war” for some people.
“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,” Obama continued.
“Period,” he added. “Enough is enough.”
Unfortunately these mass shootings have become regular events in the U.S. That is our “normal” now.
The media has been uncharacteristically hesitant to speculate on Dear’s motive.
Police were trying to determine Saturday why a middle-aged gunman in hunting gear allegedly went on a wild shooting spree inside a Planned Parenthood clinic, killing three people, including a police officer.
The suspect, identified as Robert Lewis Dear, 57, of North Carolina, surrendered to officers after a five-hour ordeal Friday in which he fired randomly at people in the clinic and roamed the halls shooting through walls with an assault-style rifle.
“We don’t have any information on this individual’s mentality, or his ideas or ideology,”
You’d think by this time reporters could have found out some information about this guy, wouldn’t you? Nevertheless, there is quite a bit of good information in the USA Today article.
One Republican Congressman demanded an apology from Planned Parenthood head Vicki Cowart while the attack was still ongoing. Tommy Christopher at Mediaite:
Police have finally taken a shooter into custody after the five-hour siege at a Planned Parenthood center in Colorado Springs that has left at least three people dead, including one police officer. It was while that siege was still going on, though, that Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger decided to take to CNN’s air and demand an apology from Vicki Cowart, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains, if the perpetrator turned out not to be an anti-abortion terrorist.
“When I heard that statement, I thought that was very premature. We may find out this person was targeting Planned Parenthood. If we find out he was not targeting Planned Parenthood, I would fully expect an apology from the Planned Parenthood director for saying that.”
That was at about 6 pm, while there was still gunfire being reported at the scene. There is a long history of terrorism against Planned Parenthood and other reproductive health providers in this country, but the statement Kinzinger is referencing [see Planned Parenthood statement excerpted earlier in this post] actually points out that the motive is as yet unknown, and yet is still true no matter what this shooter’s mysterious motive turns out to be.
Here’s some background on Garrett Swasey, the police officer who was killed in the shootout. CNN via KTXS ABC 12: Slain officer was once champion skater.
Swasey, 44, was one of three people killed Friday when a gunman attacked at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs.
The married father worked for the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs and was on campus Friday morning when the shooting started 10 miles away. He rushed to the scene to support a city police officer who was under fire, the university said in a statement….
Swasey had been with university police for six years, authorities said. But long before that, he was a junior national couples ice dancing champion, The Denver Post reported.
He and his partner won the junior national championship in Orlando in 1992, the paper cited university spokesman Jared Verner as saying. A few years after the championship win, Swasey performed in a musical skating show in Maine.
As the community mourns the fallen officer, the University of Colorado football team will observe a moment of silence during its game Saturday.
I’ll end with this piece from Mother Jones: The New, Ugly Surge in Violence and Threats Against Abortion Providers.
Three people were shot dead and nine injured Friday at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic, the first time since 2009 that anyone has been killed in an incident linked to activity at an abortion clinic. The attack comes amid an exponential increase in threats and violence against abortion providers since the release of a series of viral—and widelydebunked—videos.
While police have not discussed the alleged motives of the suspect, who has been arrested, the attack began at the clinic. According to authorities the gunman entered the facility Friday afternoon and began shooting. During an hours-long standoff, he exchanged fire with police, killing one officer.
Since the release of the Center for Medical Progress’ videos that purport to show Planned Parenthood selling fetal issue, harassment, threats, and attacks against abortion providers, their staff, and facilities have surged dramatically across the country, according to new numbers from the National Abortion Federation.
The clinic attacked on Friday is part of the Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains affiliate, which was featured in the Center for Medical Progress’ videos.
“Since the series of highly-edited, misleading anti-abortion videos was released in July, we have seen an unprecedented increase in hate speech and threats against abortion providers” says Vicki Saporta, the president and CEO of the National Abortion Federation, which has been tracking violence against providers since the 1970s.
“We have been quite worried that this increase in threats would lead to a violent attack like we saw” on Friday, she added.
Please go read the whole thing at Mother Jones.
What else is happening? I hope to see your thoughts and links in the comment thread.