- At least 4 officers injured in attack near clinic, police say
- Unknown number of civilians hurt; officers surround building
Colorado Springs police are engaged in a standoff with a gunman who entered a Planned Parenthood clinic, injuring four officers and at least five civilians.
Police could not confirm whether anyone was killed in the incident that began at 11:30 a.m. local time and has stretched at least four hours as officers penned the shooter inside the building. Police used an armored vehicle to evacuate people, while others were able to escape out windows and side doors.
Penrose-St. Francis Hospital received six patients, spokeswoman Jill Woodford said. Memorial Hospital received three, spokeswoman Erin Emery said. The Colorado Springs Police Department said four police officers were among the injured.
The shooter was exchanging gunfire with police at 2:30 local time, Colorado Springs Police Lieutenant Catherine Buckley said at a press conference at the scene. In an earlier press conference, Buckley said the assailant used a long gun, but had no details about the weapon.
President Barack Obama was briefed on the situation in the city, which is about 70 miles (112 kilometers) south of Denver, by his Homeland Security Advisor Lisa Monaco, according to a U.S. official who described the conversation on condition of anonymity.
Buckley said she didn’t know whether Planned Parenthood was the shooter’s initial target. The group, which provides contraception and health care for women, as well as abortions, has been embroiled in controversy.
In September, the Republican-controlled U.S. House voted to withdraw its federal funding after anti-abortion groups circulated videos showing a Planned Parenthood official discussing the sale of fetal tissue. The bill now awaits a vote in the Senate. Republican presidential candidates have condemned the group in the aftermath of the videos.
“We share the concerns of many Americans that extremists are creating a poisonous environment that feeds domestic terrorism in this country,” Vicki Cowart, president of the Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, said in an e-mailed statement. “We will never back away from providing care in a safe, supportive environment that millions of people rely on and trust.”
This is the second mass shooting in Colorado Springs in less than a month. On Oct. 31, a gunman walking through a residential neighborhood near downtown Colorado Springs killed three people. The gunman in that incident was killed by police.