COLORADO SPRINGS — A police officer died Friday after a man wearing hunting gear and armed with a “long gun” went on a shooting spree inside a Planned Parenthood clinic here, according to the Colorado Fraternal Order of Police.
Two people have died in the incident, KUSA and MSNBC are reporting.
Officials said they would hold a press conference at around 9 p.m. ET.
“My thoughts and prayers are with families of victims of today’s standoff in Colorado Springs,” Colorado Attorney General Catherine Coffman tweeted. “Tragic loss of life in #PPShooting,” the tweet read.
The alleged shooter was taken into custody Friday evening after barricading himself inside the clinic and engaging in the shooting rampage, that left four officers and at least five civilians injured, according to officials.
The Associated Press gave the total number of injured to be 11.
Colorado Springs police Lt. Catherine Buckley confirmed the gunman’s capture.
In a dramatic operation earlier Friday, with the gunman still on the loose, officers crept into the Planned Parenthood building and rescued six or seven civilians cowering in a bathroom nearby. They then proceeded to evacuate others from the building.
At one point, police warily eyed the shooter from a distance. He was described as bearded, stocky, wearing a trench coat and armed with an AK-style weapon. Some officials described the main weapon as a “long gun.”
Buckley, spokesperson for the police department, earlier confirmed that four officers were wounded, but did not give details on their condition. She also said an unknown number of civilians had been injured, but Penrose Hospital said it was treating five patients.
“We don’t have the suspect yet, and we still consider this an active situation,” Buckley said. She said he brought some “items” with him into the clinic, but she could not say whether these were dangerous devices.
White House officials said that President Obama has been notified about the situation in Colorado by his Homeland Security advisor and will be updated as needed.
Vicki Cowart, president of Planned Parenthood, said in a statement: “At this time, our concern is for the safety of our patients, staff and law enforcement.”
Earlier, a law enforcement source told KKTV that one of the officers had been hit in the hand.
During an office to office search through the afternoon, officers reported automatic gunfire coming from the building,
Buckley said the incident began when police got a call at 11:38 a.m. that a gunman had entered the building. Responding officers, she said, “encountered active gunfire.” . Police do not know what connection, if any, the gunman has with Planned Parenthood, she said.
Denise Speller, manager of a nearby haircut salon, said she heard as many as 20 gunshots in the span of less than five minutes, the Associated Press reports.
She told The Gazette that she saw a police cruiser and two officers near a Chase Bank branch, not far from the Planned Parenthood facility.
One of the officers appeared to fall to the ground and the other office knelt down to render aid then tried to get the officer to safety behind the car, she said. Another officer told Speller to seek shelter inside the building.
“We’re still pretty freaked out,” Speller said by phone. “We can’t stop shaking. For now we’re stuck back here not knowing.”
Joan Motolina said that he was on the phone when the shooting broke out, trapping his sister inside the clinic.
“I have no idea my sister is alive or not,” he says.
Over the next hour, police on scene, where snow was falling and temperatures had dropped to 21 degrees, reported to the dispatcher that the gunman was firing at them repeatedly.
“Rounds are coming through the window,” said one officer.
Officers described the gunman was wearing a long coat and a hunting-type hat.
One officer told the dispatcher that the gunman shot out the back window of his patrol car as the officer tried to “get a look at him,” the newspaper reports.
At another point an officer, speaking to the dispatcher, said, “We have another officer down by the dumpster.”
A dispatcher said one person was wounded at Elite Vision, an eye care center near Planned Parenthood on Centennial Blvd, The Gazette reports. The newspaper said one victim was taken by stretcher to an ambulance.
Planned Parenthood is located on Centennial Blvd. less than a half mile west of Interstate 25 in northwest Colorado Springs.
It was the second shooting incident in a month. On Oct. 31, a gunman shot and killed three people near downtown Colorado Springs before he died in a shootout with police.