President Barack Obama responded to a mass shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs Friday. A man identified as the suspect who killed three people — including a police officer — and also included five other police officers that initially responded at the scene. The man was being held on no bond as he awaited his first court appearance scheduled for Monday. The Colorado Springs Police Department identified the shooting suspect as 57-year-old Robert Dear. Jail records didn’t list charges but showed him being held on two administrative holds, reported ABC News on Saturday.
After entering the Planned Parenthood clinic, Dear engaged in a standoff with police that lasted several hours, authorities said. The standoff came to an end when police officers entered the building and began shouting at the suspect, according to Colorado Springs Lt. Catherine Buckley. It was then that officers got “him to surrender and he was taken into custody,” Buckley said.
President Obama responded in a statement Saturday morning, one more time to a mass shooting. “The last thing Americans should have to do, over the holidays or any day, is comfort the families of people killed by gun violence — people who woke up in the morning and bid their loved ones goodbye with no idea it would be for the last time,” the President said. “And yet, two days after Thanksgiving, that’s what we are forced to do again.”
“We don’t yet know what this particular gunman’s so-called motive was for shooting twelve 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,” said the President. “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.”
Obama called for a return to normalcy. “This is not normal. We can’t let it become normal. 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.”
Obama praised the slain officer, referring to him as a hero. “May God bless Officer Garrett Swasey and the Americans he tried to save — and may He grant the rest of us the courage to do the same thing.”
Congresswoman Robin Kelly, a Democrat from the 2nd Illinois’ Congressional District, responded on Facebook to the shooting of 44-year-old Garrett Swasey, a six-year veteran of the UCCS police department and a married father with two children. “We cannot stand in silence for every mass shooting and then not do anything to address problem. Congress needs to act. Every year, over 100,000 people are shot in America —more than 30,000 of them fatally. This is a crisis and we are losing a generation to gun violence.”
Rep. Kelly called for gun reform. “I once again call upon my colleagues in the House to join me in supporting “common sense” gun legislation, including a ban on assault weapons used by this shooter. It is also long past due to pass universal background checks, closing all loopholes.”
Other responses to the shooting also included Democratic frontrunner, Hillary Clinton. She said in a tweet that “Today and every day, we #StandWithPP,” referring to Planned Parenthood.