Suspect in Colorado shooting called loner who left few clues

Neighbors have offered the first details about the gunman in a deadly, five-hour standoff with police at a Planned Parenthood clinic, while President Barack Obama declared of the country's latest mass shooting, "This is not normal. We can't let it become normal."

AFP| Updated: Nov 29, 2015, 03:32 AM IST

Colorado Springs: Neighbors have offered the first details about the gunman in a deadly, five-hour standoff with police at a Planned Parenthood clinic, while President Barack Obama declared of the country's latest mass shooting, "This is not normal. We can't let it become normal."

While many details were still not clear, the Colorado shooting appeared to touch a number of America's most sensitive issues, including access to guns, abortion rights and even the Black Lives

Matter movement. Activists noted that a white gunman suspected of shooting several police officers was taken into custody and not killed.

The shooter burst into the clinic on Friday and opened fire as patients and staff took cover under furniture and inside locked rooms. By the time he surrendered, three people were dead including a police officer and nine others were wounded, authorities said.

Police identified the suspect as 57-year-old Robert Lewis Dear of North Carolina. Jail booking records indicate he is due in court on Monday.

The gunman didn't get past a locked door leading to the main part of the facility, the regional head of Planned Parenthood said yesterday. Vicki Cowart said there had been no armed security.

Planned Parenthood, a national organization that offers women's health services including abortions, said its staffers were safe. It did not know whether the organization was the target.

The Colorado Springs mayor said authorities aren't ready to discuss a possible motive but said people can make "inferences from where it took place." John Suthers said the clinic's security staff were "incredibly helpful" in working with police to monitor the gunman's whereabouts on surveillance video.

Obama called once more for stricter gun controls. "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," the president said in a statement. "Period. Enough is enough."

Neighbors and authorities described Dear as a loner who avoided eye contact. He lived part of the time in a North Carolina mountain cabin with no electricity or running water. A cross made of twigs hung on the wall of Dear's shack.

"If you talked to him, nothing with him was very cognitive topics all over place," said neighbor James Russell.