The Colorado Springs, Colorado terrorist, who holed himself up in a Planned Parenthood with an AK-47 style weapon, has surrendered after a six-hour standoff. Three people are dead and nine are wounded. The motive of the gunman is still unknown. Because he did not leave a manifesto seeking fame and “his name on everyone’s lips” (as did the Oregon mass shooter), we can report to you that the suspected terrorist is a 57-year-old white guy named Robert Dear from North Carolina.
The dead include two civilians and one police officer. The nine wounded are in good condition at area hospitals, according to city police Lt. Catherine Buckley. None of the 15 Planned Parenthood staff working that day were injured.
The shooting began during the late morning hours of an ordinary day at Planned Parenthood, as patients waited for appointments. Shortly after 11:30 a.m., the shooter entered Planned Parenthood.
A man named Ozy Licano was sitting in his car when he saw the shooter enter the building.
“He just started shooting up the entryway,” recalled Licano, 61. “I saw him shoot up and down.”
Licano wanted to get out and run, but instead put his car in reverse. It was then he found himself looking into the shooter’s eyes for about five seconds, a time which must have seemed indescribably long.
“In those five seconds, [bullets] passed through my window. He was looking directly at my face; he was aiming at my head,” Licano said. “I could see it in his eyes. [A] cold, stone face.”
Licano suffered superficial wounds from windshield glass but made it to a nearby grocery store and called 911.
Eyewitness Kentanya Craion was inside the building when she heard shouts.
“I heard everyone in the lobby screaming ‘Get down! Get down!’ And then I saw a gunman walking with a shotgun just shooting randomly outside of Planned Parenthood.”
Craion described the gunman as seeming “calm, but crazy”. He wore a hunting jacket and hat, “mumbling and ranting” while shooting. He certainly fit the profile of a crazed gunman. Craion and two others ran into an empty room and barricaded themselves inside during the standoff.
After about six hours, police established communication with the terrorist and reported he was “going to come out with his hands up”. That was it. No apparent motive, just insanity, fear and death. Tragedy, terrorist-style.
When everyone heard there was a shooter barricaded inside a Planned Parenthood, many assumed this was an anti-abortion nut or someone with an agenda against Planned Parenthood, what with all the talk and controversy over defunding the health-care institution. However:
“We don’t yet know the full circumstances and motives behind this criminal action, and we don’t yet know if Planned Parenthood was in fact the target of this attack,” said Vicki Cowart, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains in a written statement. “We share the concerns of many Americans that extremists are creating a poisonous environment that feeds domestic terrorism in this country. We will never back away from providing care in a safe, supportive environment that millions of people rely on and trust.”
It’s an interesting notion to tie attacks like these to the wider world of terrorist attacks. We seemed to be doing just fine in creating our own attacks without the help of extremists, so it’s hard to say whether or not this point stands. Perhaps global extremism has impacted domestic terrorism. One thing is for certain: as more and more people crack under a society that does not care for or support them, there is little hope of reducing domestic terrorism.