Investigators are not publicly speculating about why a heavily-armed man stormed a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Friday. The obvious speculation is the man was targeted the clinic because abortions were performed there.
Sources identified the shooter as Robert Lewis Dear. His voter registration records say he s 58 years old and a resident of Hartsel, Colorado, which is 65 miles west of the location of the shooting. Online records indicate Dear is a native of South Carolina who moved to Colorado in recent years.
Two civilians and one police officer were killed, Mayor JOhn Suthers said. The police officer killed was Garrett Swasey, 44, a six-year veteran of the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs Police. Swasey was on the campus nearby when he responded to the shots fired call by the Colorado Springs Police, according to a school statement. Three Colorado Springs officers were also wounded, but survived.
The attack began just before noon when he started firing his AK-47 assault rifle. A shoot out with police soon followed, but the man retreated into the clinic where he stayed until surrendering five hours later. He exited the building with his hands in the air just as police were poised to go in after him.
Police worked methodically during those five hours to free as many of the people who were trapped inside, and to determine where others might be hiding. Some of the hostages used cell phones to call police and relatives during the stand off. Six uninjured hostages were rescued four hours into the stand off. Another six were rescued and hour earlier.
Joan Motolinia told reporters near the scene that his sister called him from inside the building as shots were being fired. "She was telling me to take care of her babies because she could get killed."
The Planned Parenthood clinic, which performs abortions as well as women's health services, is in a crowded shopping area in several miles northwest of downtown.
This is the second recent mass shooting in the city. A man with a rifle killed four people in downtown Colorado Springs before he was shot to death by police last month.
Watch the police news conference held Friday evening:
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