As the gunman behind the standoff at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood in which three people died and nine were injured was named as Robert Lewis Dear, a 57-year-old man from North Carolina, President Barack Obama said on Saturday the US had “to do something about the easy accessibility of weapons of war on our streets to people who have no business wielding them”.
“Period,” the president added, in a statement released by the White House. “Enough is enough.”
Officials speaking off the record gave the suspect’s identity to news outlets late on Friday. On Saturday morning, the city of Colorado Springs confirmed Dear’s identity and released a booking photo taken at the El Paso County criminal justice center.
No other detail was immediately available, including a motive for the attack which police said on Friday was carried out with a “long gun”, usually a reference to a rifle or shotgun.
“We don’t have any information on this individual’s mentality, or his ideas or ideology,” Colorado Springs police lieutenant Catherine Buckley told reporters.
In his statement, Obama said: “We don’t yet know what this particular gunman’s so-called motive was for shooting 12 people, or for terrorising an entire community.
“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.”
Planned Parenthood has, however, been at the centre of a fierce political storm – as fierce as that over the gun control measures for which Obama continues to call – over videos, released by an anti-abortion group, which purport to show officials discussing the sale of foetal tissue. Calls to defund the organisation have proliferated among Republicans in Congress and on the 2016 presidential campaign trail.