Obama on Colorado Shooting: 'Enough Is Enough'
Last Updated: November 28, 2015
Colorado Springs Police spokesperson Lt. Catherine Buckley addresses the media Friday during an active shooter situation near a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs, Colo., Nov. 27, 2015.
President Barack Obama spoke out Saturday against the shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado, saying "enough is enough" to this attack and other similar gun violence.
"This is not normal. We can’t let it become normal," said Obama in a statement released by the White House.
"If we truly care about this -- if we’re going to offer up our thoughts and prayers again, for God knows how many times, with a truly clean conscience -- then we have to do something about the easy accessibility of weapons of war on our streets to people who have no business wielding them. Period. Enough is enough," the president said.
Around noon (local time) Friday, a gunman burst into the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs and opened fire, launching into an hourslong gunbattle and standoff with police.
This booking photo released by the Colorado Springs Police Department shows Robert L. Dear, 57, the suspect in the Nov. 27, 2015, shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
By late afternoon Friday, a suspect, identified as Robert Lewis Dear, 57, of North Carolina, was in custody. Three people, including one police officer, were killed and nine others, including five officers, were wounded, authorities said.
The slain police officer was identified as 44-year-old Garrett Swasey, a member of the University of Colorado Springs campus police department, which said he responded to the shooting in support of the city police.
The names of the civilians had not been released early Saturday.
No other details about the suspect were immediately available, including whether he had any connection to Planned Parenthood.
Dear is being held in the El Paso County Criminal Justice Center, where jail records indicate he is scheduled to appear in court on Monday.
"We don't have any information on this individual's mentality, or his ideas or ideology," Colorado Springs police Lt. Catherine Buckley told reporters.
Buckley said initial reports described the shooter's weapon as "a long gun," such as a rifle. Buckley said the suspect also carried "items" into the clinic, although authorities didn't know whether they were explosive devices.
Obama added, "We don’t yet know what this particular gunman’s so-called motive was for shooting 12 people, or for terrorizing an entire community, when he opened fire with an assault weapon and took hostages at a Planned Parenthood center in Colorado.
"What we do know is that he killed a cop in the line of duty, along with two of the citizens that police officer was trying to protect. We know that law enforcement saved lives, as so many of them do every day, all across America. And we know that more Americans and their families had fear forced upon them," he added.
Planned Parenthood said Saturday all of its staff at the clinic was safe. The organization said it did not know the circumstances or motives behind the attack or whether the organization was the target.
During the standoff, terrified patients and staff hid wherever they could find cover and inside locked rooms.
Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said the police showed "untold valor."
Planned Parenthood clinic shooting survivor Ozy Licano describes his encounter with the shooter Friday, Nov. 27, 2015, in Colorado Springs Colo.
Agents of the FBI and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and explosives were working with Colorado Springs police.
Two vigils were planned in Colorado Springs Saturday for the shooting victims.
Planned Parenthood is controversial because some of its branches perform abortions, although the bulk of its work involves providing family planning services, screenings for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases, and general health consultations.
"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," wrote Vicki Cowart, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains.
In August, about 300 Colorado Springs residents opposed to abortion protested at the Centennial Boulevard clinic as part of a nationwide demonstration over a video that purportedly showed organization employees discussing the sale of fetal tissue. The video has since been discredited.
Some abortion opponents have resorted to violence against U.S. clinics and medical practitioners that provide abortion services; several have been hit by arsonists and bombers. At least two doctors have been murdered by anti-abortion activists, the most recent in 2009, when a doctor in Kansas was slain because he performed abortions.
White House correspondent Aru Pande contributed to this report.