NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Activists took to Union Square Park Saturday evening in protest over the shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado on Friday.
Protesters toughed out the rain and rallied right next to the Cherry Holiday Fair to let crowds of bystanders know they’re angry, WCBS 880’s Stephanie Colombini reported.
The crowd could be heard chanting “Abortion is not murder!”
Activists like Sunsara Taylor, with the group Stop Patriarchy, said the attack at the Colorado Springs clinic is proof a woman’s right to choose is in a state of emergency.
“It’s a very heavy moment that we’re in and I think we felt that as we were protesting and chanting. But also in the responses of people who stop,” she said.
As WLNY-TV’s Steve Langford reported, the shooting prompted Governor Cuomo to announce new security measures at Planned Parenthood facilities in New York.
On Monday, state police will visit over 60 facilities to assist with security and emergency planning measures, Cuomo’s office said.
“Friday’s shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic was a senseless act of violence that has left us shocked and heartbroken. While we are still learning more about what led to this horrendous attack in Colorado, we are taking appropriate precautions and doing everything possible to prevent similar tragedies from taking place in our state,” Cuomo said.
The NYPD has stepped up patrols at locations in the city. There was a squad car and two officers stationed outside of the clinic on Bleeker Street, Saturday, as a lone anti-abortion protester stood across the street in silence.
Authorities throughout the area announced beefed up security for local abortion clinics.
The Suffolk County Police Department was one step ahead of the state, issuing a statement on Friday that it would increase patrols.
Early Saturday morning, a Suffolk County police cruiser could be seen circling the parking lot of the Planned Parenthood in Smithtown, WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported.
“We’re contacting these facilities to gather any intelligence and observing a way out of these locations and this all done in the abundance of caution to ensure that people feel safe. To ensure we’re doing everything that we can,” said Suffolk County Deputy County Executive Tim Sini.
Authorities said patrols have been increased at all nine locations on Long Island.
The suspected gunman in Friday’s shooting, 57-year-old Lewis Dear of North Carolina, surrendered to authorities after a five-hour standoff and shootout with police.
Ozy Licano was parked outside the building when he came face-to-face with the gunman.
“He was looking directly in my face, he was aiming for my head. I could see it in his eyes. And then that first bullet went here, and the other here,” said Licano.
Law enforcement sources said Dear first started shooting in the parking lot before moving into the facility.
As soon as officer arrived on the scene, they were met with gunfire.
Two people, along with 44-year-old university police officer Garret Swasey, were killed. Nine others, including five officers, were injured.
“All I can say is my heart is broken,” said Police Chief Peter Carey. “This is a really, really tough situation for a lot of people in our community.”
As CBS2’s Matt Kozar reported, police said Dear had propane tanks in his car, they believe he intended to shoot those tanks and cause an explosion.
Dear reportedly sat down in a chair when he realized he was cornered, and yelled out that he was surrendering.
Investigators have been combing through Dear’s trailer for clues. He lived in a rural area 60 miles west of Colorado. Over the years he has lived in remote trailers and cabins in the Carolinas.
Neighbors described him as reclusive.
Sources said the suspect was cooperating. He has been held without bail and is due back in court on Monday.
Dear is no stranger to the law, court records show a restraining order and an allegation of domestic violence.
Law enforcement sources said that as Dear was taken into custody he told police, “No more baby parts.”
President Barack Obama said the Planned Parenthood shootings show the urgent need “to do something about the easy accessibility of weapons of war” for “people who have no business wielding them.”
“Enough is enough,” Obama said in a statement released on Saturday.
Obama said it’s not known what motivated the shooter, but it’s clear “more Americans and their families had fear forced upon them” and that, the president said, “is not normal. We can’t let it become normal.”
Late Friday night, Planned Parenthood released a statement on its official Facebook account, saying in part:
“The heart of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains is broken tonight as we try to make sense of the horrific tragedy that struck our beloved health center in Colorado Springs. Our thoughts are with the all those who were impacted and particularly the families of the two civilians and law-enforcement officer whose lives were lost. We are grateful to report that all our staff are safe and accounted for and are hoping for the best possible outcomes for the others wounded in this attack.”
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