Three people are dead, including one police officer, after a shooting at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs on Friday. The suspected shooter has been taken into police custody, according to the town’s mayor.
Nine other people have been hospitalized and are in good condition according to police, the Associated Press reports. The deceased officer was named as Garrett Swasey, 44, a six-year veteran of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs police department. Colorado Springs mayor John Suthers said the community “mourns the loss of a very brave police officer.” Police have not yet confirmed the identity of the suspect.
Police first responded to the active shooter on Centennial Boulevard around noon local time. Around 2:30 p.m. local police assisted by the FBI were still pursuing the shooter. A witness told the AP that she heard up to 20 gunshots in less than five minutes and saw an officer fall to the ground.
Joan Motolinia told the AP that he heard gunshots while on the phone with his sister Jennifer, who is hiding in the Planned Parenthood. “She was telling me to take care of her babies because she could get killed,” Motolinia said of Jennifer, a mother of three.
Police had warned workers and shoppers in nearby stores to stay away from the windows and to not allow anyone in or out. “We are working with the staff of Planned Parenthood to identify where people are in the building and help them get out safely,” said Buckley. “Until we have this individual, it’s not safe for us to move anybody out of other buildings in proximity to the Planned Parenthood building.”
Authorities do not yet know if Planned Parenthood was the shooter’s target.”It would be premature to speculate what this individual’s motives” were, said Buckley.
Vicki Cowart, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains, released a statement on the Planned Parenthood site, which read, in part: “We share the concerns of many Americans that extremists are creating a poisonous environment that feeds domestic terrorism in this country. We will never back away from providing care in a safe, supportive environment that millions of people rely on and trust.”
Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton tweeted the statement along with the message “Today and every day, we #StandWithPP.”
President Obama has been briefed by Homeland Security.