A gunman entered a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado on Friday, firing from the building and at police during a five-hour standoff that ended with his surrender.
Two people, including a police officer, were killed inside the Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs, according to several law enforcement sources familiar with the investigation.
The gunman walked out of the facility just before 5 p.m. local time and officers took him into custody, officials told NBC News.
A total of 11 people, five of them police officers, were transported to area hospitals in the day of violence, police said.
“At this point I have as many questions as you do,” Colorado Springs Police Chief Peter Carey told reporters before heading to the hospital to visit injured officers.
Police are still clearing the building, now a crime scene, to make sure several unidentified items that the gunman brought with him are not dangerous, police said.
The shooting and standoff unfolded during a regular working day at the facility, with patients waiting for appointments and staff members attending to them, Colorado Springs Police Department Lt. Catherine Buckley said.
Several escaped during the ordeal, thanks in part to police personnel who rammed the side of the building with a truck, officials told NBC News.
The gunshots were first reported near the Planned Parenthood facility on Centennial Boulevard at around 11:38 a.m., police said.
The gunman, who has not been identified, began shooting in the parking lot of Planned Parenthood and then entered the building, a law enforcement official told NBC News.
Police officers who responded were fired upon, and the gunman fired at police at various times during the ensuing standoff, police said.
At one point, the gunman, armed with an AK-47-style weapon, was surrounded in the lobby, according to a law enforcement source with direct knowledge of the situation.
Authorities tapped into the building’s video surveillance system, and were able to monitor the gunman’s movements, officials said.
Nearby businesses were ordered to lock the doors and those inside were told to shelter in place as police responded to the scene. After the standoff ended, authorities began releasing them, Buckley said.
Joan Motolinia said his sister was in the clinic when gunshots were heard. “She called me and she was screaming there was a shooting,” he said. “She couldn’t say too much because she was afraid.”
“She was telling me she was hiding under a table,” Motolinia said. He said he heard more shots over the phone, and his sister hung up.
Caren Kesterson was working at a nearby Supercuts hair salon when two police cars sped past.
“We got up and we looked outside, and it was like almost immediately we heard gunshots — easily over 20,” Kesterson told MSNBC by telephone.
Three police officers were shot in the initial encounters with the gunman, Buckley said, and a fourth officer was shot around two hours later. It is unclear when the fifth officer was hit.
The FBI and federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives were among several law enforcement agencies who responded.
A White House official said President Barack Obama was notified about the situation. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said in a Tweet that “Today and every day, we #StandWithPP”, referring to Planned Parenthood.
Vicki Cowart, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains, said Friday that “we don’t yet know if Planned Parenthood was in fact the target of this attack.”
But she vowed in a statement: “We will never back away from providing care in a safe, supportive environment that millions of people rely on and trust.”
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