COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado – The mayor of Colorado Springs, Colorado, said on Twitter Friday that police have detained the suspected gunman accused of opening fire inside a Planned Parenthood facility there.
Three people — two civilians and one police officer — were killed during Friday’s siege, the Colorado Fraternal Order of Police said on Twitter.
Police evacuated the Planned Parenthood building in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where the gunman fired at officers, Lt. Catherine Buckley told reporters.
The gunman brought items with him that authorities will need to investigate, Buckley said.
“We don’t know what they are. We know that the suspect brought several items with him, and some of those are inside the Planned Parenthood building and some of them are out front of it,” she said.
“The officers inside the building have encountered the individual. As of about a minute ago, they were exchanging gunfire with him,” Lt. Catherine Buckley told reporters around 2:30 p.m. (4:30 p.m. ET).
At least four officers were injured in the shooting, she said. Local hospital officials said at least nine people were taken to medical facilities in the area. Details about their injuries were not immediately available.
The shooting, which was first reported around 11:30 a.m. (1:30 p.m. ET), also left a nearby shopping center on lockdown as police searched for the gunman.
“We don’t have the suspect yet and we do consider this still an active situation,” Buckley told reporters earlier Friday. There could be hostages and there could be an additional shooter at large, she said.
“There are a lot of possibilities with this scenario,” she said. “As I said, it is very active and we are working our way through it.”
FBI teams were among those responding to the scene, agency spokeswoman Deborah Sherman said.
It was not immediately clear whether Planned Parenthood was the target of the shooting.
Police said the original 911 call reporting the gunman came from the building.
One Planned Parenthood official said the motive behind the attack was unknown, but pointed to what she called a “poisonous environment that feeds domestic terrorism” as a possible cause.
“We don’t yet know the full circumstances and motives behind this criminal action, and we don’t yet know if Planned Parenthood was in fact the target of this attack,” Vicki Cowart, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, said in a written statement. “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.”
Witnesses: Police swarmed area
Denise Speller, who works at a nearby salon, said she heard at least 10 gunshots go off and saw a police officer get hit.
“It was terrifying,” she said, adding that it was unclear exactly where the shots were coming from.
Brigitte Wolfe, who said she works in the area of shooting, told CNN that she saw about five officers behind a building with their guns drawn, as well as about three SWAT vehicles and roughly seven police cars from her vantage point in a strip mall that’s across the street from the Planned Parenthood. A grocery store and bank are nearby, Wolfe noted.
Photos taken by Kody Fisher, a reporter with CNN affiliate KXRM, showed an ambulance and, in another photo, at least two police officers crouched behind a patrol car.
Colorado Springs police tweeted that the shooting took place on Centennial Boulevard. A newspaper in the city, The Gazette, reported that traffic was shut down in both directions on that road and that customers were told to stay put in a nearby grocery store and shops.
That sentiment was echoed by Colorado Springs police, who warned around 12:20 p.m. (2:20 p.m. ET) that the area was “not secure” that those in a nearby shopping center should “shelter in place.”
At a grocery store in the shopping center, an intercom announcement told shoppers not to leave.
The city, in the central part of the Colorado, has more than 400,000 residents.
Planned Parenthood: ‘This is a developing situation’
Hours after the shooting began, video from CNN affiliates showed people in medical scrubs and white coats being escorted from the scene.
Planned Parenthood is a national health care provider that delivers reproductive health care and sex education to women and men throughout the United States. The organization runs nearly 700 health centers throughout the United States, according to its website.
The group says each year 2.7 million people in the United States visit its health centers for health care services and information. Abortion is among the services Planned Parenthood clinics provide, an issue that’s made the organization a target in the past.
It’s faced sharp criticism in Washington and from some Republican presidential candidates on the campaign trail after an anti-abortion group released a series of videos alleging that Planned Parenthood engaged in the selling of fetal organs and parts for profit.
Planned Parenthood has strongly disputed the videos and contended the tapes provide a distorted account because they are heavily edited.
At least three Planned Parenthood buildings have been vandalized since September.
Last year, abortion providers in the United States saw 12 incidents of vandalism, one burglary, one invasion, one arson attack, one death threat and four stalking incidents, according to the National Abortion Federation.
AVOID Centennial and Fillmore active shooter scene is not secure. Shopping Center shelter in place.
— Springs Police (@CSPDPIO) November 27, 2015
— Kody Fisher (@KodyFisherFOX21) November 27, 2015
— Kody Fisher (@KodyFisherFOX21) November 27, 2015