Alleged Colorado shooter to appear in court

  • 30/11/2015
Robert Lewis Dear, 57 (Reuters)
Robert Lewis Dear, 57 (Reuters)

The man arrested over a shooting spree that left three people dead and nine wounded at an abortion clinic in the US is to make his first court appearance.

Friday's nearly six-hour standoff again put the United States' gun culture in the spotlight and also triggered renewed scrutiny of Planned Parenthood, a nationwide health provider that carries out abortions and has faced violence and threats in the past.

Robert Lewis Dear, 57, a bearded drifter who surrendered to police at the scene, is expected to eventually face state charges of murder and attempted murder.

Dear will appear from a courtroom facility at the El Paso County Jail and the hearing starts at 1.30pm local time, when a judge will advise him of his rights.

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers told ABC's This Week talk show on Sunday that police have yet to disclose what Dear told them under interrogation as to his motive.

But asked if he thought the clinic was specifically targeted, Suthers said: "It certainly appears that way."

NBC News, citing two law enforcement officials, reported that Dear mentioned "no more baby parts" when questioned.

Police named the two civilians killed as Jennifer Markovsky, 35, and Ke'Arre Marcell Stewart, 29.

The third victim was previously identified as Garrett Swasey, 44, a campus officer at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs who had raced to the scene of the shooting.

Colorado Springs, the state's second-largest city, is still reeling from the attack.

Numerous vigils were held during the weekend across the city known for its conservative political bent and fundamental religious organisations.

Concern for the victims and praise for police and law enforcement personnel quickly descended into pressure on the political front, including for tighter gun laws.

President Barack Obama, no stranger to issuing sombre calls for action after the armed tragedy, declared "enough is enough."