Colorado Springs, Colo., Mayor John Suthers said in an interview Sunday that the fatal shooting spree at a Planned Parenthood clinic in his town appears to be an act of domestic terrorism.
“We have, Martha, something that occurs quite a bit. We have a person that’s pretty much off the grid and acting for whatever motivation, very hard to ferret out those folks,” Suthers told Martha Raddatz on ABC’s “This Week.”
From President Barack Obama’s statement yesterday:
We don’t yet know what this particular gunman’s so-called motive was for shooting twelve people, or for terrorizing an entire community, when he opened fire with an assault weapon and took hostages at a Planned Parenthood center in Colorado. What we do know is that he killed a cop in the line of duty, along with two of the citizens that police officer was trying to protect. We know that law enforcement saved lives, as so many of them do every day, all across America. And we know that more Americans and their families had fear forced upon them.
This is not normal. We can’t let it become normal. If we truly care about this — if we’re going to offer up our thoughts and prayers again, for God knows how many times, with a truly clean conscience — then we have to do something about the easy accessibility of weapons of war on our streets to people who have no business wielding them. Period. Enough is enough.
May God bless Officer Garrett Swasey and the Americans he tried to save — and may He grant the rest of us the courage to do the same thing.
An updated statement from Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains acknowledges the terrorist’s motives as they are now understood:
“Today, we are learning that eyewitnesses confirm that the man who will be charged with the tragic and senseless shooting that resulted in the deaths of three people and injuries to nine others at Planned Parenthood’s health center in Colorado Springs was motivated by opposition to safe and legal abortion. This is an appalling act of violence targeting access to health care and terrorizing skilled and dedicated health care professionals.
“The safety of our patients and staff is our top priority. We have strong security measures in place and work closely with law enforcement agencies, and we also ensure that our doors are open to all people who need high-quality, compassionate health care. We believe the safety procedures we have in place helped reduce the number of lives lost and injuries during yesterday’s events.
“We’ve seen an alarming increase in hateful rhetoric and smear campaigns against abortion providers and patients over the last few months. That environment breeds acts of violence. Americans reject the hatred and vitriol that fueled this tragedy. We do not accept this environment as normal. We should not have to live in a world where accessing health care includes safe rooms and bullet-proof glass.
“We have a saying at Planned Parenthood: ‘These doors stay open.’ It means we don’t back down because of protestors, violent extremists, or anyone else. It means we are a safe, supportive, and welcoming environment for all people who need high quality reproductive health care. Today, in Colorado and across the country, Planned Parenthood’s doors are open and we will continue to provide compassionate health care to people who have trusted us and relied on us for generations.”
Meanwhile, Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz issued a blistering release of her own, hammering the GOP’s latest Planned Parenthood witch hunt and connecting that campaign to Friday’s shooting:
The details that have emerged on Friday’s shootings in Colorado Springs make it clear that the attack on civilians and law enforcement there was an act of terrorism. Tragically, this horrific attack against Planned Parenthood is not isolated to this instance. Since 1993, at least eight people– four doctors, two clinic employees, a security guard, and a clinic escort – have been murdered in the United States in incidents of anti-choice violence, including a doctor shot to death in 2009 while serving as an usher at a church. Since the politically-motivated campaign to defund Planned Parenthood began this summer with the release of a series of misleading and debunked videos, there have been four attacks on Planned Parenthood centers in the U.S. according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Those running for president and those of us in leadership roles in our country’s major political parties have an obligation to denounce these attacks and clearly say that violence and intimidation in the pursuit of ideology are not acceptable in America. Politicians who peddle lies, whether about Planned Parenthood or immigrants, and those who encourage roughing up Americans who have different opinions have a particular obligation and responsibility to denounce these acts of terror. In addition to the attacks on Planned Parenthood we’ve seen assaults on Hispanics, the shooting of Black Lives Matter protesters, and ugly shouts at campaign rallies that have gone unchallenged. No political gain is worth what this reckless, dangerous rhetoric is doing to our country, and it must come to an end.
In the Planned Parenthood case it’s especially troubling that there has been no meaningful reaction from Republican candidates and political leaders. This shameful silence is becoming a theme for Republicans, who are all too ready to denounce a three year old refugee but not acts committed by a domestic terrorist like what we saw Friday.
SATURDAY UPDATE #3: NBC News reports, the motive you expected beginning to emerge:
Robert Lewis Dear, a North Carolina native who was living in a trailer in Colorado, made statements to police Friday at the scene of the Colorado Springs clinic and in interviews that law enforcement sources described as rantings.
In one statement, made after the suspect was taken in for questioning, Dear said “no more baby parts” in reference to Planned Parenthood, according to two law enforcement sources with knowledge of the case. [Pols emphasis]
But the sources stressed that Dear said many things to law enforcement and the extent to which the “baby parts” remark played into any decision to target the Planned Parenthood office was not yet clear. He also mentioned President Barack Obama in statements.
They’re being awfully careful not to, you know, speculate down there in the conservative bastion of Colorado Springs aren’t they?
SATURDAY UPDATE #2: 9NEWS reports the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood building has been cleared by police with no additional victims found. Thank goodness.
SATURDAY AM UPDATE: 9NEWS:
Sources tell 9Wants to Know that authorities have not yet entered the Planned Parenthood building. They believe additional fatalities are inside.
Sources also tell 9Wants to Know the shooter in Colorado Springs is Robert Lewis Dear, 57, of South Carolina. Police on Saturday morning said the “items” Dear left at the scene were secured, processed and are no longer a threat.
UPDATE 5:45PM: New reports that at least one police officer is dead following Friday’s terrorist attack in Colorado Springs. One civilian also killed with many more in local hospitals.
UPDATE 5:00PM: After an afternoon-long standoff, alleged Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood
shooter terrorist now in custody. A total of nine (eleven, news reports updating) transported to area hospitals including either four or five police officers. We’ll update once we know more.
UPDATE #7: Statement from Planned Parenthood’s Vicki Cowart:
“Our top priority is the safety of our patients and staff. Our hearts go out to everyone involved in this tragic situation. Planned Parenthood has strong security measures in place, works closely with law enforcement agencies, and has a very strong safety record. We don’t yet know the full circumstances and motives behind this criminal action, and we don’t yet know if Planned Parenthood was in fact the target of this attack. 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.”
UPDATE #6: Denver Post now reporting multiple civilian casualties.
UPDATE #5: Local media reports third victim, reportedly another police officer, removed from scene. No word as of now on the status of the shooter. “Number of civilian injuries unknown.”
#CentennialBl incident CSPD confirms 3 officers injured unknown civilian injuries situation still not stable.
— Springs Police (@CSPDPIO) November 27, 2015
UPDATE #4: National media drops what they’re doing:
CNN, other cable news outlets now covering live.
UPDATE #3: KOAA-TV Colorado Springs reports from the scene:
Police are responding to reports of a shooting near Planned Parenthood on Centennial in Colorado Springs. Police are staging around the area and there are scanner reports of shots being fired and officers pinned down. People are asked to avoid the area. At least two officers have been shot. Officers are still trying to secure the area. The suspect is still shooting. [Pols emphasis]
Hope/pray as per your preference for a speedy end to this madness.
UPDATE #2: Local media reporting the shopping center at Centennial and Fillmore in Colorado Springs is “in shelter in place status” as the active shooter situation unfolds at the nearby Planned Parenthood clinic.
UPDATE: Denver Post:
The city’s fire department tweeted about the situation about 11:45 a.m. The branch is located at 3480 Centennial Blvd., just east of the Garden of the Gods. “The area is NOT secure,” police said in a tweet.
Horrifying report from the Colorado Springs Gazette’s Stephen Hobbs this afternoon:
Scanner traffic indicated at least an officer was down and 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. At least one victim was taken by stretcher to an ambulance shortly after noon. Three police officers with guns draw were pointing their weapons in the vicinity of Planned Parenthood…
We’ll update as soon as we know more.