The man authorities say went on a deadly shooting rampage at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Friday has been identified.
The alleged gunman is 57-year-old Robert Lewis Dear, formerly of North Carolina, according to a police source. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, identified Dear as the person who allegedly killed three people, including 44-year-old University of Colorado at Colorado Springs police officer Garrett Swasey.
Authorities have not officially confirmed the identity of the suspect. Nine other people, including five police officers, were also wounded in the shooting, before the suspect surrendered to police, just before 5 p.m.
The incident marks the second major shooting incident in the city in less than a month. On Oct. 31, a gunman shot and killed three people near the downtown area, before being killed by police, after a brief shootout. Authorities said the shooter chose his targets at random.
Although investigators have not yet uncovered a motive for Friday’s shooting, it appears that the Planned Parenthood clinic was the intended target. Several witnesses said they heard dozens of gunshots during the more than five hour ordeal. One eyewitness described how he literally came eye to eye with the alleged gunman and barely escaped with his life.
Ozy Licano, 61, shared his incredible eyewitness account with The Gazette. Licano said that he saw the gunman shoot a man who was crawling in the parking lot of the clinic, before the suspect turned his weapon on him, firing several shots as he made his own escape. (For the full story, click here.).
Hundreds of people were forced to shelter in place as the incident unfolded, including 150 shoppers and staff in a nearby King Soopers supermarket. One shopper told reporters that a bullet struck a sign near his head, outside the store, as he scrambled for cover from gunfire. A spokeswoman for King Soopers said that the store was promptly secured and no one inside was in any immediate danger.
Police said the gunman also brought items with him that may have been explosive devices. The scene remained on lockdown for some time, after the suspect surrendered, so detectives could collect evidence and bomb squads could determine if the items were dangerous.
Mayor John Suther condemned the gunman’s actions and praised officers and first-responders for their handling of the incident. Suther also expressed his sympathy for the casualties and offered condolences to the families of the slain victims.
Police said the identities of the two other deceased victims will be released after notification of next of kin. All other wounded are expected to recover.