Friday 2 December 2016

Gunman held at abortion clinic as 11 shot

Keith Coffman in Colorado Springs

Published 28/11/2015 | 02:30

Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado Credit: Google Maps
Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado Credit: Google Maps

Police in the US last night exchanged shots with a gunman who stormed a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Colorado Springs and opened fire with a rifle in a burst of violence that left 11 people injured, including five police officers.

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No fatalities were reported by authorities.

Late last night, five hours after the siege began, police ended the stand-off after arresting the suspect inside the building after authorities scrambled to evacuate staff and patients who had been trapped inside.

A news agency photographer at the scene saw a man in a white T-shirt, with his hands cuffed behind his back, being taken out of an armoured police vehicle and placed in an unmarked squad car.

Booby-traps

Progress in securing the building was slowed by the fact that the gunman had brought "some bags" with him into the clinic and left several items outside, all of which needed to be checked for possible booby-traps, said the spokeswoman, Lieutenant Catherine Buckley.

She said police had been trying to open a line of communication with the gunman, who appeared to have acted alone.

There was no information provided on the nature of the injuries, or the condition of any of the victims.

Police swarmed the area around the building after an emergency call reporting shots fired and officers ultimately confronted the suspect inside the building, Lt Buckley said.

President Barack Obama was notified of the shooting by his Homeland Security adviser, Lisa Monaco, and "will be updated on the situation as necessary, a White House official said.

The Planned Parenthood centre provides abortions, screening for sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy testing and other services, according to its website.

"We don't yet know the full circumstances and motives behind this criminal action," Vicki Cowart, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains, said in a statement.

As in much of the rest of the country, abortion is a divisive issue in Colorado. The clinic has been the target of repeated protests, and in recent years moved to its current location, which has been derided as a "fortress" by abortion foes.

At least eight clinic workers have been killed in violent attacks on abortion providers since 1977, according to the National Abortion Federation - most recently in 2009.

Irish Independent

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