An active shooter has shot multiple police officers and holed himself up in a Planned Parenthood abortion business in Colorado Springs, Colorado. News reports indicate one police officer and two civilians were killed in today’s shooting.
While a handful of vigilante extremists have used violence against either abortion clinics or the pro-life movement over the years, pro-life organizations of all stripes have vociferously condemned any and all violence in association with efforts to protect women and unborn children from abortion.
At least nine people were taken to hospital Friday afternoon, including at least four law enforcement officers, after the man opened fire at a the facility off Centennial Boulevard and Fillmore Street.
Officers took fire while they tried to rescue people inside the building. Police spokeswoman Lt. Catherine Buckley said the gunman took a “long gun” into the facility and also took items with him, including some inside and outside of the building. Officers haven’t been able to evaluate those to determine if they are explosives.
Law enforcement officers from around El Paso County are on the scene as well as bomb squads, Colorado State Patrol, the ATF and the FBI. Police have cordoned off a large swath of the area around Fillmore Street and Centennial Boulevard, near where the Planned Parenthood facility is.
UPDATE: Colorado Springs police have detained a shooter at a Planned Parenthood building, according to scanner traffic.
Radio traffic from police starting at 4:50 p.m.:
* “He’s going to come out with his hands up.”
* “He’s standing up.”
* “Can you confirm he has his hands clear?”
* “He’s facing down that hallway to the east, his shoulders down.”
* “Bear, you can back up.”
* “Bear, he is coming out.”
* “We’ve got to take him out if he has any IED suspicion on him.”
* “Are we in the way of the snipers?”
* “Z-39, we have one suspect trained right now.”
* 4:52 p.m.: “We have our suspect right now. He is alone and by himself.”
Police then began to disperse throughout the building to search for improvised explosive devices.
“Officials at press conference say it would be premature to suggest a motive at time,” one local reporter tweeted after the suspect was apprehended.
“Colorado Springs Police Chief Pete Carey confirms that three people have died in the Friday shooting at Planned Parenthood. One officer and two civilians were killed,” news reports indicated.
Leading pro-life groups have been quick to condemn today’s violence:
“We believe the way to end serious conflict in a civil society is by ballots, not bullets,” said Brian Johnston, Chairman of California ProLife, told LifeNews.com. “Whatever the motive of this shooter, this is the wrong way to address the most important issue of our time, and only clouds peoples’ emotions and understanding of what is at stake and how to bring positive change.”
UPDATE: Per a Denver Post reporter, the shooting began at the Planned Parenthood abortion clinic.
Shootings started at Planned Parenthood. Unknown how many casualties there. Shooter brought things to planned parenthood. It started at planned parenthood.
Colorado Springs Lt. Catherine Buckley later brief reporters saying: “Since this is still active, it would be premature to speculate about this individual’s motive.”
“Police are actively engaged with the shooter inside the Planned Parenthood facility and are receiving gunfire, Buckley said. When asked if the shooter has made any demands or had any communications besides firing at officers, she said “no.”
Police confirm that a fourth officer has been injured, and Buckley would not confirm how many civilians have been injured.
One person in scrubs and an employee of Planned Parenthood were just placed in police cars and taken to another staging area.
UPDATE: Leading pro-life advocates are condemning the shooting:
Operation Rescue and the Christian Defense Coalition are denouncing the violence that appears to be in progress at a Planned Parenthood abortion facility in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Details are still sketchy regarding the motives of the perpetrator and we urge the public not to draw any conclusions until police can make an official determination.
“Operation Rescue unequivocally deplores and denounces all violence at abortion clinics and has a long history of working through peaceful channels to advocate on behalf of women and their babies. We express deep concern for everyone involved and are praying for the safety of those at the Planned Parenthood office and for law enforcement personnel. We pray this tragic situation can be quickly resolved without further injury to anyone,” said Troy Newman President of Operation Rescue.“Although we don’t know the reasons for the shooting near the Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs today, the pro-life movement is praying for the safety of all involved and as a movement we have always unequivocally condemned all forms of violence at abortion clinics. We must continually as a nation stand against violence on all levels.,” said Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, based in Washington, D.C.
UPDATE: The Colorado Springs Gazette reports that three officers and multiple bystanders were shot:
1:34: The shooting situation remains active and the shooter is not contained. Colorado Springs police says there is no connection to Planned Parenthood and shooting victims are getting treatment.
1:01 p.m.: One of the victims being loaded onto an ambulance yelled.
12:54 p.m.: At least three officer are injured as well as multiple others. There are no estimates of the number injured or whether there are fatalities.
The shooter is “contained,” according to Lt. Kirk Wilson, a Colorado Springs police spokesman. Officers are working to “extricate” an officer who is at the scene but police could not immediately reach him.
Denise Speller, manager at a nearby haircut salon, said she heard roughly 10-20 gunshots in the span of less than five minutes. She said she saw a police cruiser and two officers outside near Chase Bank, not far from the Planned Parenthood facility. One of the officers appeared to fall to the ground and the other office knelt down to render aid, then tried to get the officer to safety behind the car, she said. Another officer told Speller to seek shelter inside the building.
“We’re still pretty freaked out,” Speller said by phone. “We can’t stop shaking. For now we’re stuck back here not knowing.”
The Colorado Springs newspaper has more on the situation:
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Scanner traffic indicated at least two officers were down, one near a dumpster, and another taken by ambulance to a hospital. A dispatcher said one patient was wounded at Elite Vision, located an adjacent building at 3470 Centennial Blvd. A later dispatch said at four were injured and an officer was heard requesting an ambulance. Another officer indicated wounded patients were being taken to Penrose Hospital, 2222 N. Nevada Ave.
Officers from the Colorado Springs Police and the Colorado State Patrol are at the scene with guns drawn and pointed in the direction of the Planned Parenthood clinic. Multiple fire engines and ambulances were parked along Centennial Boulevard.
One officer said on his radio that the gunman shot out the back window of his cruiser as the officer tried to “get a look at him. A dispatcher said the gunman wore a long coat with a “hunting-type” hat.
Leading pro-life advocates were quick to condemn the shooting:
Praying for a peaceful resolution to #PlannedParenthood situation in Colorado. Violence is NEVER the answer.
— Frank Pavone (@frfrankpavone) November 27, 2015
We don’t know what motivated the shooting at PP today, but as a movement we unequivocally condemn every act of violence at abortion clinics! — Rev. Patrick Mahoney (@revmahoney) November 27, 2015