Police are currently engaged in an active standoff with the gunman who injured at least four police officers and an unknown number of civilians Friday when he opened fire in a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Co. He remains barricaded inside the Planned Parenthood building and is firing at police. At this time it is not confirmed whether anyone has been killed.
As of the time of this writing, the gunman’s identity and motives are unknown, and very little information is available about what happened inside the clinic over the past few hours. CBS News reported that it is still an active scene that has not been stabilized, and gunshots are apparent in the live coverage. Authorities are evacuating people from the Planned Parenthood building in an armored vehicle, and others escaped through the windows. The official Planned Parenthood Twitter expressed concern for the safety of the staff and patients.
Police Lt. Catherine Buckley was quoted by Fox 35 Orlando regarding the number of casualties.
“Buckley says that there are an unknown number of casualties in the attack, and she would not say how many civilians were wounded. She says at least four police officers have been wounded and there may be a fifth.”
The incident began at around 11:30 a.m local time and has spanned the last several hours. At 12:10 p.m., authorities responded to reports of an active shooter in the Planned Parenthood building. A witness told the Associated Press that she heard as many as 20 shots in under five minutes and also saw a police officer fall from the gunfire. The Colorado Springs Gazette reports at least nine people have been rushed to the hospital. So far the name of the suspect has not been released, but police are warning people to stay off the roads. Local businesses nearby are on lockdown.
Police are asking people to seek shelter nearby and not to approach the scene. The city of Colorado Springs is asking people to call 211 to let their families know they’re safe, and not to call 911 for the time being.
It has been reported that the shooter brought several currently unidentified items with him into the clinic. Investigators will continue to examine the scene for several hours to determine if they are explosives, but as of yet their nature is not known. The shooter may have also fired at passing cars.
The location of the gunman inside the Planned Parenthood building is not currently known, and the possibility of further hostages has not been discounted. So far the gunman has not given any demands. Police are not in voice contact with him.
Though it is not known at this time if Planned Parenthood was the intended target of the shooting or not, health centers that provide abortions such as those run by Planned Parenthood have frequently been the target of extremist threats and violence. The Washington Post reported that threats against abortion providers have greatly increased this summer after the release of a video by an anti-abortion group, the Center for Medical Progress, which claimed to have video evidence of a representative from Planned Parenthood negotiating the sale of fetal tissue. Planned Parenthood said the video was deceptively edited with stock footage.