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THE SITUATION ROOM
Active Shooter Opens Fire in Planned Parenthood ClinicActive Shooter at Planned Parenthood Clinic; Interview with Representative Adam Kinzinger. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired November 27, 2015 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, breaking news. Active shooter. An assailant opens fire at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs. Nearby shops and businesses are on lockdown as police are scrambling to contain the suspect. At least four officers are wounded.
[17:00:32] Wolf Blitzer is off today. I'm Brianna Keilar. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
KEILAR: Breaking news, an active shooter at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... inside the building have encountered the individual. And they're working at that at this time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're actively exchanging gunfire now?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As of about a minute ago when I first came up from the briefing they were exchanging gunfire with him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was this -- the four (ph) officers, were they injured in this latest exchange of gunfire?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, they were.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. So the three were earlier?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any idea of how many total have been transported?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do not have totals on transport yet. OK?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So four individuals injured...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Four officers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Four officers injured?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And how many individuals?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know how many civilians at this time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: That update came in just moments ago. And as you heard, this is an incident that is focused on a Planned Parenthood clinic. Police say the situation is still active there, but a shopping center nearby is on lockdown along with a hospital. Some people there have been hiding behind locked doors for hours. And a witness reports hearing least ten gunshots and seeing an officer go down. Another witness said 20 gunshots.
Police say at least four officers are hurt. We do have reports that eight people now have been transported to local hospitals. Federal agencies, the FBI, the ATF, they have been called in. And President Obama has been briefed on this situation.
Our correspondents, analysts and guests have full coverage of this story. And we're going to begin now with CNN national correspondent Kyung Lah.
Kyung, give us the latest.
KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This has been going on now for three hours, Brianna. The initial call came out around noon local time. And the call came originating from the Planned Parenthood center.
What we now know is that four officers have been wounded, according to the police department. A total of eight people transported to the local hospitals. What you're seeing happening between the officers and the one suspect they've been able to eyeball is that they are still exchanging gunfire.
We've seen some dramatic video of police officers running on the ground, of pulling people out of that clinic. People have been wrapped in blankets.
To give you an idea of what this area looks like, this is not just an isolated clinic. There is a grocery store nearby. There's a Supercuts nearby. There are about a dozen businesses. A lot of them busy, because it is Black Friday.
What we have learned from the police department is that they have seen the suspect with a long gun. And that is what he has been firing at the police department.
Here are the important details that we don't quite know yet. We don't know exactly where all of this began. Did it originate inside the Planned Parenthood center or outside? That is something that we have yet to learn from police while they're still dealing with this active situation.
There is a Chase Bank nearby. We don't know if it started there and if it moved inside the Planned Parenthood center, but what we can tell you is that officers have the suspect in their sights, and they are exchanging gunfire with that suspect who remains inside the Planned Parenthood center -- Brianna.
KEILAR: This is literally happening -- this -- this report that we got, the update that we got, Kyung, was that just, really, minutes ago there was still this exchange of gunfire going on.
LAH: Minutes ago that they had -- three hours in, they're exchanging gunfire with this suspect.
What we have heard from the police department is that they have done the active shooter protocol. They have trained for this. Their officers have entered the building. But if you see these pictures of the people coming out, they've got to be worried about some of these people still inside. They perhaps don't even know exactly how many people remain inside, if anyone remains inside. This is all the stuff that they're still trying to sort through.
They don't also know who the suspect is, at least they haven't said it publicly. They don't know if he was motivated to enter the Planned Parenthood clinic. And they don't know if the clinic was targeted. This is still very much unfolding. Again, three hours after that initial call, Brianna.
KEILAR: All right, Kyung, thanks so much for the update. We'll be coming back to you ahead.
But I want to get now to CNN justice correspondent Pamela Brown to talk about the federal response. We know the FBI is involved here, Pam. Who else is involved in this?
[17:05:07] PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Brianna.
In fact the FBI SWAT team is involved, is responding to this, because we have an active -- what appears to be an active hostage situation underway, a gunman that is exchanging fire with officers.
As we know, several people have been transported to the hospital, so the FBI SWAT team, as well as the evidence response team there on the scene and the ATF, I'm told, that every agent in the ATF office there in Colorado Springs is now assisting, including the special agent in charge.
You don't always see this kind of response, but this is clearly a very urgent situation that is still underway, still not contained. And as a result, Brianna, the investigation hasn't even begun. They are just trying to contain the situation by getting this gunman. And the last we heard, they were still exchanging gunfire.
Also, I'm told that an emergency operations center has been set up there on the scene. We saw the mobile unit in some of the video. So that will help facilitate and coordinate the various law enforcement officers that are there on the ground to help, in order to ensure that there's not chaos and that everyone is communicating and coordinating effectively.
And I just want to point out here, Brianna, just in the last week, an intelligence bulletin was sent out from the FBI and DHS. It was a terrorism bulletin, but it still applies to this, because it asked local law enforcement and federal law enforcement, state law enforcement to review active shooter protocol. This is something that these police departments train for. They coordinate their efforts and drills.
Just this week they were asked to review that protocol, and now they're putting their training into use with what appears to be this active shooter situation there at that Planned Parenthood, Brianna.
KEILAR: All right. Pamela Brown, thanks so much for that report.
I want to get now to Brigitte Wolf. She works very close to the Planned Parenthood clinic at a Japanese restaurant there in this shop plaza. And she's joining us now by the phone -- by phone.
Brigitte, can you tell us where were you when this started? And tell us what you saw or what you heard.
BRIGITTE WOLF, WITNESS (via phone): Well, I was just having a normal day at work. But, you know, we saw the police vehicles pulling up. And we have a bank right across the street, so we just thought it was a bank robbery. But then SWAT came in, and they were towards the Planned Parenthood, which we could see through our window very clearly. And it's just been ongoing since.
KEILAR: When you, Brigitte, saw the police first come into this area, how much time passed between when the police first arrived and then when you saw SWAT go into the Planned Parenthood?
WOLF: Oh, probably about 30 minutes.
KEILAR: Thirty minutes. And did you hear any gunshots?
WOLF: I personally did not hear any gunshots, but we're also in a building that, you know, we're pretty -- it's not, you know, like, soundproof.
WOLF: But you can hardly hear anything from outside.
KEILAR: Where are you now? Are you there in the building still?
WOLF: We are still in our restaurant. With half a dozen of the SWAT members with us.
KEILAR: And why are they there?
WOLF: Well, probably about 15, 20 minutes ago it was an active shooting. And they came running into our place.
KEILAR: To seek cover? To warn you?
WOLF: Not to seek cover. We have really large windows that is facing the Planned Parenthood.
WOLF: And so maybe they could get the shooter from, you know, our windows. Or -- I'm not sure. But I know it's not for cover.
KEILAR: OK. So tell me, you're obviously -- this restaurant -- how long have you worked at this restaurant?
WOLF: Twenty years.
KEILAR: OK. So I'm assuming are you familiar with some of the staff from the clinic? Do they come in from time to time?
WOLF: I have not seen them.
KEILAR: OK. So you're not necessarily knowing anyone who may be involved inside of the Planned Parenthood clinic? We're still awaiting, obviously, to see. We understand civilians have been injured. We're not sure how many. Have you seen anyone taken from the building on a stretcher?
WOLF: I have not.
KEILAR: You have not. And what are you being told by authorities where you are in terms of taking cover?
WOLF: Just stay away from the windows. And keep all the doors closed and locked.
KEILAR: Would you have -- if you were to leave, if you were to drive away from the restaurant where you work, would you have to drive by the clinic?
WOLF: I personally would not.
KEILAR: You would not. And are you getting any guidance from authorities there? Are they checking in with you periodically? How are they updating you about the situation and what you need to do to stay safe?
[17:10:11] WOLF: They're not really updating us on the actual situation, but they are making sure -- I mean, there's an officer that keeps checking up on us and making sure we're OK.
KEILAR: OK. OK, Brigitte. Thanks so much for talking to us. Brigitte Wolf there, nearby this Planned Parenthood clinic, who is there as this all went down. Really appreciate you chatting with us.
I want to go now to Chris Voss by phone. He's a former FBI lead international kidnapping negotiator. Chris, talk to us about -- we have limited information here, quite
frankly, in terms of what's happening inside of this Planned Parenthood building. We know that shots were exchanged, really just several minutes ago between police officers and -- we've heard from a spokesperson -- this one identified shooter.
What would you expect, though, in terms of what may be going on if this is a hostage situation or what police officers and negotiators may be saying to this shooter?
CHRIS VOSS, FORMER FBI LEAD INTERNATIONAL KIDNAPPING NEGOTIATOR (via phone): Well, this sounds much more as a victim situation, as opposed to a hostage situation. The shooter's actions so far tell us a couple things. If this gun battle's been going on for three hours, that means he planned in advance and he brought a lot of ammunition and probably multiple weapons with him. He envisioned this lasting a long time. (AUDIO GAP)
KEILAR: Sorry, Chris, can you hear me? Chris, can you hear me?
All right. We're going to try to get Chris back on the line. Obviously, this is a fluid situation. But right now joining me, we have CNN law enforcement analyst Art Roderick. He's a former assistant director of the U.S. Marshal's Office. We also have CNN law enforcement analyst Cedric Alexander. And we have CNN intelligence and security analyst Bob Baer. He's a former CIA operative.
To you, Art, we -- we heard from Chris there. He said that it's not a hostage -- it would appear to him by the pattern of what's happening here that it's not a hostage situation. It's what?
ART RODERICK, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: More of a barricade situation.
KEILAR: A barricade situation.
RODERICK: We have an individual -- and there's several things happening here. I mean, you've got an individual inside Planned Parenthood where this whole thing started, and we've come full circle back to it again. But it sounds like he's been sniping people in the parking lot and at the Chase Bank. Now you're talking a quarter of a mile away. That's like four football fields.
KEILAR: Between the Planned Parenthood clinic and the Chase Bank?
RODERICK: And the Chase Bank. And then also we had some witnesses talk about being shot at.
KEILAR: That's right.
RODERICK: By the King's Grocery Store.
KEILAR: Right. One was saying that he was actually leaving the grocery store, and a bullet hit a stop sign behind him.
RODERICK: Exactly. So I was on the U.S. Marshals Special Operations Group for almost ten years as a counter sniper. That's a pretty good shot. So he's probably got a scoped rifle in there more than likely. I mean, I'm sure he has come armed with several different types of weapons.
Now, if he's exchanging gunfire right there in the Planned Parenthood, then I agree with Chris. It's moved beyond a hostage scenario, because officers really wouldn't be firing back, you know, in terms of hitting somebody that's an innocent hostage in that situation.
So if they're exchanging gunfire, then we've got a barricaded situation going on here. And, you know, it will probably come to a conclusion here fairly quickly.
KEILAR: Cedric, when you look at this situation and what you're hearing, what are the questions that you want answers to?
CEDRIC ALEXANDER, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, clearly, this is a fully engaged tactical operation where you have from what's being reported right now is that these officers engaged in a gun battle. And I can pretty much assure you, as you heard a couple of my colleagues there even say, this subject probably has come loaded with a great deal of ammunition and weapons. It's not unusual in a situation such as this, and it certainly will probably take some time before this comes to an end. But hopefully, it comes to an end quickly.
But here's what's really important. Not understanding the schematics of that building and adjacent buildings that are close by, I'm quite sure their inner perimeters that, where you have police officers that are located to make sure that other patrons and those that may be in adjacent buildings are being kept safe.
But if this is a fully engaged gunfight, which it appears to be at this point, it suggests it may not be hostages. Very well could be barricaded. But we do not know that 100 percent as of yet.
KEILAR: So, Bob, I know that you've -- you've overseen some hostage rescues. It sounds like at this point in time that may not be the concern. But would you completely rule that out?
BOB BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY ANALYST: No, I wouldn't rule it out. And what we're talking about here in military terms is a dynamic entry where the police would come in through several doors using grenades, flash bang grenades, making absolutely sure that they don't kill any potential hostages.
If it's just a barricade, the police can take that building at any time by main force and kill the gunman. But right now I'm sure they're collecting intelligence to make absolutely sure. Because what they don't want to do is have somebody in that room with him and kill them by accident. And these guys are trained for that. Just a matter of collecting the intelligence.
[17:15:18] KEILAR: OK, Bob, Art, Cedric, standby with me. We're going to get a quick break in. We'll have much more on this active shooting going on in Colorado Springs, Colorado, as we speak in just a couple moments.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[17:20:04] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's inside. She called me and, and, and, she was telling me that there was a shooting. I heard the shooting. And she couldn't say too much, because she was afraid.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: All right. This is what we're following here. Breaking news into the CNN SITUATION ROOM. There is an active shooting, an active shooter holed up inside of a Planned Parenthood clinic. This is in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
At this point four officers have been injured. We're still trying to ascertain the extent of their injuries. Eight people have gone to hospitals. We also understand from officials there are some injured who have not been able to be transported at this point. And you heard from that man there, who said that his relative is holed up inside of the clinic. Obviously, very fearful of this.
Part of understanding what's going on here on the ground as we speak, where shots have been exchanged between police officers and between what police believe to be one shooter, is understanding the lay of the land here near this Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs. I do want to tell you we're getting this just in right now. This is a statement from Planned Parenthood. Before we show you sort of the lay of the land there.
This is a statement from Vicki Cowart. She's the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. This is what she says. She says, "Our top priority is the safety of our patients and staff. Our hearts go out to everyone involved in this tragic situation. Planned Parenthood has strong security measures in place, works closely with law enforcement agencies, and has a very strong safety record. 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.
"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."
As you see in this statement, it is unclear at this point if Planned Parenthood was targeted, if this has anything to do with the motive of the shooter. This is very much a fluid situation. Let's get now a closer look at the area involved in this incident.
We have CNN's Tom Foreman, who is here to explain all of this to us -- Tom.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, this is really the key thing, Brianna. We know where Colorado Springs is. We have an idea of how this has been shaping up. We know where it is centered right now up here at Planned Parenthood.
What we don't know is how all these pieces go together or how or why it started, which really would make a big difference here. This is -- we've heard a lot of talk about this area up here. This is the Chase Bank down here, which we've heard talk about, as well.
Some of our witnesses earlier said they thought the shooting was starting here at the Chase Bank. We also have people at the shopping center called King's Supers, which is a grocery store chain, talking about gunfire down in this area and people inside a restaurant talking about gunfire down here. Does that mean the gunfire was originating here? Or does that mean people here heard gunfire from over here, and their impression was that it was coming from the Chase Bank? We absolutely do not know that yet.
But if we move in a little bit closer, I'll show you a bit more of this other area up here. We've talked about how this is a surrounded area. It is to a degree, but the distance between here and all of that shopping is about a quarter mile. Police say there was a long gun involved.
So if you're talking about a rifle, yes, it can shoot that far. If you're talking about a shotgun, not so much. It's not going to be effective at that range. This, though, is basically a center here for elderly people up in this area, offer some medical services and care for them. This is a medical services building down here. And this is the Planned Parenthood office right here.
Whether or not this started here, we know it's ending here right now or seems to be headed that way. And around it, you see a lot of open territory. So really, key to understanding all of this, I think, Brianna, is keeping in mind that we have a lot of different locations that we have been talking about here in some fashion. And until we know how it started, we won't really know which ones are the most important, other than we know right now all of the focus is right up here at the Planned Parenthood center -- Bri.
KEILAR: All right, Tom, very helpful to see that layout of the area there. Really appreciate it. And I do want to bring in Art Roderick. He's part of our panel here of law enforcement analysts.
This was interesting to me what Tom said. At first, there were people near the Chase Bank, near the grocery store. It's a quarter mile away. And they were reporting shots fired near them. Now you have this active shooter in the Planned Parenthood. What does that tell you?
ART RODERICK: Well, I mean, when the initial call came in, it was at the Planned Parenthood address. And then shortly thereafter, they said it's near the Planned Parenthood.
So this could just be a matter of him sniping that quarter mile away into the Chase Bank and into the parking lot. But then that obviously confuses individuals that are hearing gunshots, because you really don't know where exactly they're coming from. You get a general direction. [17:25:11] But if he's sniping from that distance away, they're
actually not going to be able to see him. And it looks like, based on the map there, that you have a clear line of sight from the Planned Parenthood into the parking lot of king's grocery and into the parking lot of the Chase Bank.
KEILAR: Cedric, can you speak to how many officers are being called in to assist and what the procedures are for something like this?
ALEXANDER: Well, this is going to be full scale. You're going to have local, state and federal law enforcement on the scene, as we already know. And certainly, we probably have several SWAT teams are in play. And it's probably SWAT that very much that may be engaged with the subject as we speak.
But as this continued to go on, things are certainly going to change throughout the course of the evening. But the key is here -- is to contain this subject and try to bring this to a halt as quickly as we can. Hopefully, he surrenders. Or if not, then they're just going to have to neutralize the target until it's no longer a threat to that environment and to that community.
Because what we got to be very careful of is to make sure that, wherever this shooter is, he stay contained in that location and is not able to exit that building and move out further into the community.
KEILAR: All right. Cedric, Art, stand by with me. You're going to be with me throughout the hour and the hours ahead.
Coming up, we have much more of our breaking news. There's an active shooter at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs. Four officers wounded. Eight people have been transported to the hospital. Police are still encountering fire.
And I'll be speaking with Congressman Adam Kinzinger. He's an Iraq and Afghanistan veteran. He once received a medal for saving a woman who was being attacked on the street and disarming her assailant.
You're in THE SITUATION ROOM. We'll have more with our panel ahead.
[17:31:24] KEILAR: Our breaking news. There is an active shooter at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs. At least four police officers are hurt. And we have reports now that nine people have been taken to nearby hospitals. There are also shops in this area, businesses where people are on lockdown. They are holed up inside of their places of employment.
I want to go now to CNN national correspondent Kyung Lah. This number has ticked up from eight to nine just in the last half hour since we spoke before, Kyung.
KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We've been in constant communication with the hospitals. And the latest information that we're getting from the hospitals is that a total of nine people have been transported.
We don't know the conditions of the people who've been transported. What we do know is that out of those nine, four of them are police officers. And the reason why we say at least nine is because the number has been fluctuating throughout this entire crisis. This started three and a half hours ago. And it doesn't look like it's going to be ending any time soon. There's nothing imminent that suggests that it's going to end immediately.
Police trying to play cautiously. They've been able to eyeball the suspect. What we know is that they have exchanged gunfire with at least one suspect, someone that they have seen. He is carrying a long gun.
We've spoken to a number of the businesses in the area. There are at least 12 businesses nearby. Some of the witnesses say they've heard anywhere from 10 to 20 shots fired. All of this beginning around the lunchtime hour. A lot of people out at the grocery stores, at the nail salons getting their hair done. A very typical holiday day that you see people out when all of a sudden they started hearing some of this gunfire.
The people who we've spoken to are still stuck inside those businesses. A grocery store shut its doors. The manager's voice came on the loud speaker urging people to head to the back of the store away from the windows.
We've spoken to a hair salon that said that they originally were looking out of the windows but then a police officer ushered them to the back to safety. So those people are now being instructed via Twitter to call a local number, a 211 number, so that their families can find out whether or not they're safe.
And, Brianna, as you're watching these live images continuing to come out, what we're seeing are people being rushed out of there wrapped in blankets. They don't have their coats. This was something that they did not expect.
And we do need to clarify one thing. We don't know if Planned Parenthood was targeted. We don't know who the suspect is. We don't know if all of this originated from Planned Parenthood. Some of the witnesses have said that they heard the gunfire coming from outside. But when you deal with a long gun, it's very difficult to know exactly what the origin of those bullets are. So all of this still unfolding.
The police department saying they're doing their very best to try to keep the public updated. But they are urging the public to stay as far away as possible because they still do have an armed suspect inside the Planned Parenthood center. Still very unpredictable -- Brianna.
KEILAR: And we know that you're working to get more information, Kyung. We heard from the spokeswoman that she didn't have a total on the number of people who've been transported from the Planned Parenthood. And she actually said basically, you know, we don't know how many people are injured. And it seems unclear as well whether all of those people have been reached. So we know that you're looking to get answers there.
Kyung Lah, thanks so much. We'll be talking to you again in just a moment.
But I do want to bring in now Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois. He is an Air Force veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. And he was honored as a hero here in the United States for saving a woman who was being attacked on the street and for disarming her assailant.
[17:35:08] So, Congressman, obviously you have some experience, some personal experience with weaponry. And I wonder as you're looking at this situation here how much damage could a long range weapon like the one that we expect this shooter has, how much damage could that do?
REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R), ILLINOIS: Well, the gun itself nothing. But with a good shooter somebody that knows how to utilize it, somebody that knows how to aim, that's a professional, maybe has practiced, maybe has a training background, it could be very dangerous.
You know, look, this is where we have to really appreciate every day. You know, you hear the stories here in Chicago for instance of the shooting that happened and the protests that are going on. But you have to remember that we have law enforcement officers that are out there every day risking their lives, putting themselves in harm's way to protect us. And as dangerous as this person, this shooter, appears to be, we have much more fierce police officers that can disarm the situation.
And they're going to try to do it peacefully if they can. And if they have to, they'll kill the shooter. But it's, I think, very important to remember that we have folks that are out there ready to do this for us. And they're really the 10 percent of society that can act in a tough situation like the situation I found myself in. Things happen very fast. Your tendency is to freeze, but you have to be able to think through what's going on and think through the answers.
KEILAR: OK. I do want to really just stipulate here that we're unsure if Planned Parenthood was targeted here. We don't know if that's the motive. But when we're looking at the statement, Congressman, that's coming to us from the regional director of Planned Parenthood there, she brings up the possibility about what she calls extremists that are creating a poisonous environment that feeds domestic terrorism in this country.
So we see someone making the leap there. Again, we don't know if Planned Parenthood has been targeted. But at the same time we've seen Planned Parenthood clinics targeted before. I mean, what does that say to you about perhaps some of the protections that should be provided for safety in areas like this?
KINZINGER: Yes. When I heard that statement I thought that was very premature. We may find out that this person was targeting Planned Parenthood. If we find out that he was not targeting Planned Parenthood, I would fully expect an apology from the Planned Parenthood director for saying that. But regardless, if somebody is targeting Planned Parenthood, it's not indicative of what folks that are opposed to some of the practices Planned Parenthood commits how we feel.
You know, we saw these barbaric videos and that was something that many of us have a legitimate concern about. That doesn't mean that we're going to take guns and walk into Planned Parenthood clinics. Obviously this is a person that has a mental health issue that's to some level psychotic and crazy. And if he's targeting Planned Parenthood, and again, we don't know. If he is, he has taken a legitimate disagreement with the practice and turned it into an evil response which is to go in and shoot people. But again we don't know that answer yet and I'm sure we'll be finding out shortly.
KEILAR: All right. Congressman Kinzinger, thanks so much for talking to us.
KINZINGER: You bet.
KEILAR: I do want to point out to our viewers these pictures that you're looking at here on your screen are live pictures. You can see the SWAT team there operating in the area of this Planned Parenthood clinic. Obviously the weather conditions have been deteriorating over the few hours since this all began.
We've seen some people, I believe, come out of the clinic. Is that right, David? We've seen some people who have come out of the clinic.
We're going to continue to monitor this and keep you up-to-date. We'll be back in just a moment.
[17:43:23] KEILAR: We're following breaking news now. An active shooter at a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs. This is a neighborhood on lockdown. We know four police officers are hurt. And you are looking here at live pictures. That was an ambulance leaving the scene. We were able to see here in the last few minutes people being brought out of a building, we're not sure if it's the Planned Parenthood clinic. But they're certainly being taken to ambulances.
You see multiple ambulances there on standby. And they are being taken away to nearby hospitals. There are -- there's more than one nearby hospital. And we've been getting reports so far that nine people have been brought in to those hospitals. Judging by what we see with the ambulances here, we do expect that number to rise and we'll be following that and keeping you updated.
I do want to get now to Aaron Gardner. He was actually in the area when this happened there in Colorado Springs.
So, Aaron, walk us through. I know you work for a couple online news organizations. So I think you were very curious as you understood this was starting to happen and you wanted to get to the bottom of things. Tell us from the beginning sort of what you heard or what you saw. AARON GARDNER, WITNESS: Yes, thank you. Well, first of all, thank
you for having me on. I was actually driving home from the King Supers which -- this is the neighborhood King Supers that I go to once a week at least for groceries. And I saw the newsbreak on Twitter as I was driving home actually. And so I pulled over into a neighborhood there in the area before the quarantine -- the cordoned space got made.
And I started trying to kind of see what was going on. And I went to a couple of deer trails that I knew in the area and started walking towards the event. As I was walking towards the active shooter event, I heard a single gunshot ring out.
[17:45:13] And just for people's understanding, there's a few inches of snow on the ground here. And it is actively snowing. So hearing gunshot ring out, I was about half a mile away from the scene at the time. So that led me to believe from my experience it was a high powered rifle that had been fired. So once that happened I moved back down towards my car, spoke to a couple police officers to find out where I could go to get closer to the event with the media and traveled around to get here.
As I came through I saw the line of about 10 different ambulances that were on the side of the road that I believe you guys have shown shots of as well. Once I got up here to the scene, the media had just finished up with their first report from the police officers giving the press conference. And since then there hasn't been a whole lot of information that has come out.
But just to describe the scene for your viewers, the Planned Parenthood and the King Supers Shopping Center are adjacent to each other with a space of about 200 to 300 yards in between the two of them. It's kind of an open space between the two. And you can access the Planned Parenthood or the bank or the King Super Shopping Center all from the same intersection.
So that's kind of -- to give people what the scene looks like as far as geography goes. It looks like right now the media is gathering together and there might be a conference -- a press conference going on. I'm actually in my car at the intersection behind where the blockade is at this point.
KEILAR: Can you tell us, Aaron, how close this area is to homes?
GARDNER: For me it's about three and a half miles down the road. This area is a neighborhood area. Just across the street from the King Supers is a brand new VA facility that has been built here in Colorado Springs. Behind the King Supers just down the road maybe about half a mile is a high school.
GARDNER: -- I believe is the name of it. Of course all students are out of school this week. And then right across the street from the Planned Parenthood and actually adjacent to the Planned Parenthood is neighborhood housing, condos and such. KEILAR: OK. It is pretty close there. Aaron, we're going to have
you standby. We're going to get a quick break in as we try to get more information.
I do want to tell our viewers, top of the hour we're expecting to get an update from the Colorado Springs Police Department that has been giving us new information periodically. We'll be back with more of this breaking news next.
[17:52:23] KEILAR: We're following breaking news. We're standing by at this moment for a news conference with law enforcement in Colorado Springs where police are exchanging gunfire with an active shooter at a Planned Parenthood facility.
You're looking at -- this is video from just moments ago. People who are being brought out from this area and being transported away from it obviously in such a hurry that they weren't able to grab their coats in what is a 17-degree weather there in Colorado Springs.
The facts that we know right now. Four officers hurt, at least nine people have been taken to hospitals. This is a number that's been climbing and we continue to follow that. This surrounding area here is on lockdown and this active shooting situation is very much centered on this clinic. So I do want to get to Brian Todd because he has a closer look -- Brian.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Brianna, what we know now is that this Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs, we know it does perform abortions according to its Web site but at this hour as we've been stressing all afternoon, we do not know if this was a targeted shooting, a targeting of the Planned Parenthood office there in Colorado Springs, or not. What we did get a short time ago was a statement from Vicki Cowart, the president of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains.
This is partially what the statement says. "We don't know yet if Planned Parenthood was in fact the target of this attack. 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."
Again, this is where the police say the initial call came in and this is the address that was given at this Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs. This is where we're told the active shooting situation is going on inside there.
Also, this tweet just issued a short time ago by Cecil Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, this is the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, it says, quote, "The staff at Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountain provide care every day in matter what. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers."
Now if this was a targeting of Planned Parenthood, it would be the latest in a string of attacks on abortion providing facilities or on doctors who work with them. The most recent fatal attack was six and a half years ago, Dr. George Tiller, shot and killed inside his church in Wichita, Kansas, on may 31st, 2009. He was a director of a women services clinic that did perform late-term abortions and anti- abortionist extreme Scott Roder was convicted of Tiller's murder and he is now serving a life sentence.
Also in October of 1998, Dr. Barnett Slepian who worked at an abortion providing clinic in Buffalo, New York, he was shot through the window of his kitchen with a high-powered rifle and the anti-abortion activist James Kopp was convicted of second-degree murder in that case and he is now in prison.
[17:55:06] There are also, we should say, there's also been bombings of abortion clinics in the United States. In January 1998 an off-duty police officer working as a security guard at an abortion clinic in Birmingham, Alabama, was killed when that clinic was bombed. Eric Rudolph, the man who bombed the Atlanta Olympic Park in 1996 was convicted in the Birmingham clinic bombing.
Again, Brianna, we have to stress at this hour, we do not know if this was a targeting of the Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs. We don't know that it was not a domestic situation there. So waiting to find out some of those key details, Brianna.
KEILAR: All right, Brian Todd, thanks so much.
And coming up, we do have much more on this breaking news. There is going to be, as we understand it, a press conference at the top of the hour here in just a few minutes. We're standing by for that update from the scene in Colorado Springs.