US: Gunman arrested after killing three at Planned Parenthood centre

  • Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times, Washington
  • Updated: Nov 28, 2015 21:35 IST
Two women are evacuated from a building where a shooter was suspected to be still holed up in Colorado Springs, Colorado. (Reuters Photo)

A lone gunman is alleged to have killed three people, including a police officer, in a five-hour gun battle at a family planning clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado on Friday before surrendering.

Authorities identified the shooter as Robert Lewis Dear, 57, but gave no details about his motives, and said he was acting alone.

“The perpetrator is in custody,” mayor John Suthers told reporters. “There is a huge crime scene that has to be processed.”

Nine were injured in the shoot-out, police said.

Watch | Three killed in attack on Colorado abortion clinic

The clinic is run by Planned Parenthood, a federally supported non-profit that offers reproductive health services including abortion, a controversial issue with pro-life conservatives.

Planned Parenthood, which runs 700 such clinics in the US, has recently been under attack over a surreptitiously taken video of its officials talking about providing aborted fetus for research.

An official of the organisation told CNN that though the gunman’s motives remained unclear, a “poisonous environment that feeds domestic terrorism” was a possible cause.

The shooting came at a time of heightened country-wide alert against a terror alert following Paris. President Barack Obama was kept informed of the incident via regular updates.

Condemning the shooting Obama said Saturday morning that the shooting was another reminder that “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.”

The gunman is reported to have started shooting around 11.38am, making his way from the parking lot to inside the clinic. He was carrying an AK-47 style weapon, some reports said.

“I heard everyone in the lobby screaming ‘Get down! Get down!’ and then I saw a gunman walking with a shotgun just shooting randomly outside of Planned Parenthood,” Kentanya Craion, a witness told NBC, after leaving the building.

Law enforcement agencies, which had been on a heightened countrywide alert, descended upon the scene and cordoned off the entire area, including a shopping mall.

Dear continued shooting till authorities sent in an armoured vehicle crashing into the building, carrying officers inside to engage the suspect from a closer range.

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