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3 killed in shooting at US family planning centre

November 28, 2015 09:00 IST

Three people were killed after a gunman opened fire at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic in the United States in a nearly six-hour standoff on Friday.

Hostages are escorted to an ambulance during a shooting outside a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs. Photograph: Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Police captured the suspected gunman, but they’re still working to pinpoint his motive -- and make sure he didn’t leave any explosives inside or outside the building.

Two civilians and one police officer died, Colorado Springs police chief Peter Carey told reporters about an hour after the suspect had been arrested.

Another nine people were injured -- five police officers and four civilians -- but Carney said they were in good condition at area hospitals.

The shooting unfolded on “an ordinary working day”, as patients waited for appointments and staff attended to them.

Gunshots were first reported at the Planned Parenthood clinic at 11.38 am local time. The suspect was believed to be carrying a rifle or shotgun -- and also had with him bags and other “items”, possibly including propane tanks.

The handcuffed suspected gunman at the Planned Parenthood centre is moved to a police vehicle in Colorado Springs. Photograph: Rick Wilking/Reuters

By 4 pm local time, police had begun to evacuate many of the people who were still inside the building.

After the gunman’s arrest, explosives teams were at the scene, police said.

Footage from a local station, KKTV, showed police evacuating more than a dozen people, including patients and staff, from the building. People in a nearby shopping center and grocery store were told to “shelter in place”.

In a statement, Vicki Cowart, chief executive and president of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, said: “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.”

But she added: “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.”