Colorado shooting suspect arrested after five-hour police standoff | News | DW | 28.11.2015
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Colorado shooting suspect arrested after five-hour police standoff

The suspect in a shooting at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic has been arrested following a standoff with police. The gunman killed three people and wounded nine others after opening fire in the medical facility.

Colorado Spring Mayor John Suthers confirmed the arrest late on Friday following a five-hour standoff between the suspect and police at the family planning clinic.

"The perpetrator is in custody. The situation has been resolved," Suthers said.

"There's no continuing peril to the citizens of Colorado Springs, but there's a huge crime scene that has to be processed," he added.

One police officer from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, and two civilians were killed and nine people were injured, including five police officers, after a gunman opened fire at a Planned Parenthood clinic, local police said.

"I want to convey to the loved ones of the victims, this is a terrible, terrible tragedy that occurred here in Colorado Springs today," Suthers said, adding that the community "mourns the loss of a very brave police officer."

A police spokeswoman said officers were able to convince the suspect to surrender after entering the building. Following the arrest, authorities continued to assess items brought into the clinic by the suspect to determine whether they posed any "further hazard." It was not immediately clear if the family planning center had been specifically targeted.

Officials identified the shooter as Robert Lewis Dear, 57, of South Carolina, but have not yet determined a motive.

Abortion controversy

In addition to a number of health care screenings and treatments, some Planned Parenthood clinics offer abortions, which has caused much controversy among many conservatives in the United States.

Several anti-abortion protests have been held outside the facility in Colorado Springs in recent years, most recently in August, according to the daily "Colorado Springs Gazette."

The attack comes months after social conservatives and Republican politicians falsely blamed Planned Parenthood of selling fetal organs for profit.

The charge was in response to a heavily edited video released by an anti-abortion group showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of fetal tissue.

Planned Parenthood denied the accusations but admitted some fetal organs are used for research.

Republicans used the allegations to launch an unsuccessful attempt to cut federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

'Domestic terrorism'

President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains, Vicki Cowart, said earlier on Friday that the center didn't immediately know the full circumstances and motives behind the shooting.

"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."

ksb/sms (Reuters, AFP, AP)

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