Planned Parenthood clinics will open on Monday after Friday’s attack on the Colorado Springs office that left three dead and nine injured.
“We will adapt. We still square our shoulders. And we will move on. We will show up for work on Monday,” said Vicki Cowart, CEO of Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood, at a memorial service this morning at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church in Colorado Springs.
The attack began yesterday, just before noon, at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood center at 3480 Centennial Blvd., on the city’s northwest side. Throughout the afternoon, a gunman, later identified as Robert Lewis Dear, 57, traded fire with more than 115 law enforcement officers and surrendered 51/2 hours into the standoff.
Three people are known dead, including CU-Colorado Springs officer Garrett Swasey. Five police officers and four civilians are injured.
Colorado Springs Police Chief Peter Carey would not confirm whether the two civilian deaths were Planned Parenthood patients, stating he just didn’t know, at a 1 p.m. press conference. Information on their identities won’t be released until after autopsies are complete.
“We’re in mourning today over the deaths of three people, including one very brave police officer” from CU-Colorado Springs, Suthers said at the press conference. “We’re also thankful for the incredible work of the first responders, particularly SWAT teams who handled themselves incredibly well” and are responsible for saving many lives.
Carey said he had visited the injured police officers last night and reported they were doing okay, and that some could be released from the hospital today.
“I was incredibly impressed with the officers this morning,” Suthers said, adding that some will have a long recovery ahead.
“This country is full of heroes,” Gov. John Hickenlooper said at the press conference, noting that Officer Swasey was a state employee.
Hickenlooper refused to refer to the suspect by name in accordance with the wishes of the NoNoteriety movement that asks public officials and the media not to use the names of mass killers.
U.S. Attorney John Walsh spoke at the press conference in support of the police department and other state and local law enforcement. He did not address speculation that Dear could face federal charges, including domestic terrorism.
The investigation is in its earliest stages, so information such as motive and tactics will not become available until the suspect is prosecuted, Carey said.
More than a dozen police officers are on administrative leave as they process what happened, Carey said. He has mapped out a game plan with other local police agencies, including Douglas County, to cover the city’s law enforcement needs.
Saturday morning, police finished their sweep of the Planned Parenthood building. No additional victims were found. Police removed “items” left by the suspect, including a propane tank and several large bags. According to KUSA those items are no longer a threat. Law enforcement officers also have secured the suspect’s home in Hartsel, in Park County.
The Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood office will not be open on Monday as it will still be an active crime scene. The clinic suffered damages that will have to be repaired, Cowart said.
The 20 other clinics in the state will open.
Funeral services for Swasey have not yet been announced. A fundraising website has been set up to provide educational support to Swasey’s two children and has so far raised more than $34,000, with a goal set at $100,000.
Saturday, Hickenlooper ordered flags lowered to half-staff immediately on all public buildings and said those flags would remain lowered until further notice.
Photo credit: Marianne Goodland