Three people were killed and 9 others left wounded today when a shooter opened fire at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The incident started on Friday at around noon local time when police responded to reports of shots fired in the parking lot of a Planned Parenthood clinic. A short time later, the shooter barricaded himself inside the facility, where patients and staff were trapped along with him.
Local law enforcement and firefighters spent the next five hours inside the building exchanging fire with the gunman and evacuating civilians before managing to capture him alive. The shooter, an older white man with a beard, was seen being taken away by police in handcuffs and is now in police custody.
By the time the carnage ended, at least 12 people had suffered gunshot wounds, including five police officers and six civilians. Three of those people–one police officer and two civilians–died from their wounds, officials said Friday evening.
Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman confirmed the fatalities in a tweet:
— CO Attorney General (@COAttnyGeneral) November 28, 2015
Details on the situation are still fluid and city officials have said they are still working to determine the total number of victims. However, the immediate threat to the public is said to be contained.
“The perpetrator is in custody. The situation has been resolved. There’s no continuing peril to the citizens of Colorado Springs,” Mayor John Suthers said in a statement Friday evening. “But there’s a huge crime scene that has to be processed. We have to determine exactly how many victims there are. We’ll be reporting on that in the near future.”
Though it has not yet been confirmed that Planned Parenthood was the target of the attack, police told local station KOAA that the clinic was the “focal point” of the standoff.
Planned Parenthood clinics have seen a surge in anti-abortion violence and harassment since the release of a series of deceptively-edited videos purporting to show officials with the organization discussing the illegal sale of fetal organs. Though the videos have been thoroughly debunked and repeated investigations have cleared Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing, anti-choice extremists have used the occasion to ramp up their attacks on abortion clinics and providers.
In an initial statement, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, which operates the clinic in Colorado Springs, emphasized its focus on safety measures and stressed that it didn’t “yet know the full circumstances and motives” behind the shooting. But it also noted the intensified rhetoric towards Planned Parenthood chapters this year. “We share the concerns of many Americans that extremists are creating a poisonous environment that feeds domestic terrorism in this country,” the organization said.
Even in the face of terrorism, the agency promised that it “will never back away from providing care in a safe, supportive environment that millions of people rely on and trust.”