COLORADO SPRINGS, A gunman was arrested after a shootout at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood that left three dead, including a University of Colorado at Colorado Springs police officer.
UCCS police officer Garrett Swasey, a former ice dancer who joined the force six years ago, was one of the first officers at the scene, located about 10 minutes from the university campus. In a span of more than five hours, two civilians were killed and nine others, including at least four police officers, were hurt in the shootout and standoff that started in the parking lot of the women’s health clinic.
“All that I can say,” Colorado Springs Police Chief Peter Carey said, “is my heart is broken.”
Several news agencies have named the gunman as Robert Lewis Dear from North Carolina. Police have not confirmed the identity. Law enforcement said Dear was shooting with a “long gun.”
Police are still trying to piece together details of the incident but said it started at 11:38 a.m. local time when the gunman arrived at the clinic and immediately began shooting. Local shoppers and business owners were told to shelter in place. Police said Dear brought several items with him to the clinic, including explosives and possibly a propane tank.
Officers were able to take the suspect into custody after negotiations.
It is unclear if the clinic itself was the target, but it started there. Police have not given a cause for the shooting.
“At this point I have as many questions as you do,” Carey said at a news conference immediately after the shooter was apprehended. “I have some police officers at the hospital. That’s where I’m going next.”