Nearly three months after the shooting incident that resulted in the deaths of three people and injured nine others, a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic reopened its doors on Monday.
In a statement, the clinic said, “Today, we opened our doors in Colorado Springs. We didn’t back down. We didn’t disappear. We returned, stronger and with more conviction than ever.”
There were 30 appointments and additional walk-ins, according to Vicki Cowart, president of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. This week would see patients coming in to receive heath services; Colorado Springs Gazette reports that these services will also include abortions. Safety measures were being reviewed by the organization, while security guards could be seen on duty on the day of the reopening.
The shooting incident that forced the closure of the clinic occurred on November 27 last year, when Robert Lewis Dear opened fire outside the premises and then went inside the building. Charged with 179 counts, which include murder, attempted murder and assault, he proclaimed himself to be a “warrior of the babies” and declared himself guilty of the incident.
On Monday, a third of the building was being used, with the remaining still under reparations of the attack. The entrance to the building had suffered immense damage by a police vehicle responding to the incident.
The fatalities of the attack included a police officer with the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs and two civilians, as reported by FOX News. Among those injured included five police officers.
At a news conference, Cowart said, “We are really focused on making this a safe place for our patients, as well as our staff.”
The reopening saw abortion protesters returning to the premises, while also condemning the attacks. Joseph Martone, a protester, said. “No one deserves to go through what they went through. We respect life. All life.” As reported by ABC15.com, Martone spoke of the incident. “What [Dear] did, shooting the place up, doesn’t represent us in any way, shape or form. He doesn’t respect life, at all.”
Ken Patterson, a resident, spoke about how the incident has changed the community. “We’ve grieved now. We’re resilient, to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Patterson said. “We have our eyes open. We’re watching what’s going on, and if we see signs, everyone has their phones ready to call 911.”