3 dead, including cop; suspect captured in Colorado Planned Parenthood shooting

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Saturday, November 28, 2015
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One officer and two people died, as well as nine others, were injured in a shooting at a Planned Parenthood Clinic in Colorado Springs.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- A gunman opened fire at a Planned Parenthood Clinic in Colorado Springs on Friday, wounding multiple people and engaging in gun battles with police, as patients and staff members ducked behind tables to hide and dodge the crossfire.

Authorities confirm one officer and two other people died from their injuries sustained in the shooting. Nine other people, including officers, were hospitalized and police say they are in good condition.

The suspected gunman, Robert Lewis Dear, is from North Carolina, but no other details were immediately available. He was taken into custody after an hours-long standoff and shootout with police. Authorities say they haven't determined a motive or whether the shooter had any connection to Planned Parenthood.

The officer who was killed has been identified as 44-year-old Officer Garrett Swasey, a six-year veteran of the force. He was a member of the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs Police Department. The university says Swasey had gone to the clinic to support Colorado Springs police after he learned of the shooting.

Mike Violette, executive director of the Colorado Fraternal Order of Police, says he can't recall another incident in Colorado in which six officers were shot.

The gunman also planted unspecified "items" outside the building and carried bags inside, police Lt. Catherine Buckley said. Earlier, authorities said they planned to investigate the items once the scene was stabilized "to make sure they're not any kind of improvised device," she said.

Some of the people evacuated from the building were seen wrapped in blankets in the blowing snow and were taken to a nearby Veterans Administration clinic.

"We don't have any information on this individual's mentality, or his ideas or ideology," Buckley said.

Planned Parenthood released a statement that said it did not know the full circumstances or motives behind the attack, or whether the organization was the target.

The shots sent people inside the clinic racing for cover. Jennifer Motolinia hid behind a table inside the clinic and called her brother, Joan, who said he heard multiple gunshots in the background.

"She was telling me to take care of her babies because she could get killed," Joan Motolinia said of his sister, the mother of three.

He rushed to the clinic but was frustrated because a police barricade kept him from getting close.

"People were shooting for sure. I heard someone shooting. There was a lot of gunfire. She was calm, she was trying to hide from those people," he said.

Police cordoned off the clinic, nearby medical offices and a shopping center. Authorities ordered everyone in the area to take shelter where they were.

Denise Speller, manager of a nearby hair salon, said she heard as many as 20 gunshots in less than five minutes.

She told The Gazette newspaper that she saw a police cruiser and two officers near a Chase Bank branch, not far from the Planned Parenthood facility.

One of the officers appeared to fall to the ground and the other officer knelt down to help and 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."

Ambulances and police vehicles lined up at a nearby intersection and police told people via Twitter to stay away from the shooting scene because it was not secure.

Shelley Satulla said she saw five or six people put on stretchers and placed in ambulances lined up next to King Soopers shopping center near the clinic.

Later in the afternoon, other people were able to walk out of the shopping center area accompanied by police officers toward a line of ambulances.

Mike Pelosi, who works at a deli at a nearby King Sooper grocery store, said he heard over the store's loudspeaker just before noon that nobody could leave the store.

Pelosi said customers and store employees were confused about what was going on but not panicked. He said a couple dozen customers were standing near the store entrance waiting for instructions.

The location of the shooting is less than 6 miles from the street where a man shot and killed two of three people before dying in a gun battle with police on Halloween day.

Authorities said 33-year-old Noah Jacob Harpham first shot a bicyclist near his home, then walked less than a mile and shot two women on the porch of a sobriety house.

ABC7 News contributed to this report.