Just a day after Thanksgiving, the US witnessed another shooting incident where a gunman opened fire in public, killing 3 people and injuring several others. The shooting happened at a family planning centre in Colorado and the standoff with the policemen lasted for over 5 hours. Of the 3 people that died, one was a policeman.
According to officials, the shooter held Colorado Springs clinic staff and patients as hostage for several hours on Friday evening. A shootout with the police went on for over 5 hours in which 3 people were killed and 9 others were injured, which included 5 police officers.
The gunman surrendered after five hours, said the officials but they still do not know the motive of the shooter. A large area of snow-covered Colorado Springs was placed under lockdown during the crossfire.
“I want to convey to the loved ones of the victims: this is a terrible, terrible tragedy that occurred here in Colorado Springs today,” Colorado Spring Mayor John Suthers said at a news conference after the situation was under control.
The shooter is said to have been armed with a long gun. He had also brought into the building several “items” that could be explosive devices, said the investigators.
The White House too came out with a statement saying that President Barack Obama was notified about the situation by Homeland Security Advisor Lisa Monaco.
“Our hearts go out to the families of those who were killed and to those who were injured at the scene. We are grateful to law enforcement at all levels who responded to this incident, and to the clinic staff who endured this attack and took quick action to ensure that patients were safe,” said Vicki Saporta, president and CEO of the National Abortion Federation.
“Since a series of highly-edited, misleading anti- abortion videos was released in July, we have seen an unprecedented increase in hate speech and threats against abortion providers. We have been quite worried that this increase in threats would lead to a violent attack like we saw today,” Saporta said.
At least four Planned Parenthood clinics have been targeted for arson since the videos were released, claimed Saporta. But it was not immediately clear if the Planned Parenthood family planning center had been specifically targeted.
Concerned Women for America, a ‘pro-life’ organization, also condemned the attack.
This latest shooting incident has again brought to the fore the debate on United States’ gun culture.
(With inputs from agencies)