Save this content for laterSave this content on your device for later, even while offline Sign in with FacebookSign in with your Facebook account Close

Survivor recounts opening moments of Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood attack

November 27, 2015 Updated: December 1, 2015 at 11:16 am
0
photo - Shooting surviver Ozy Licano, 61, describes his encounter with the shooter at the Planned Parenthood Clinic Friday, Nov. 27, 2015, in Colorado Springs Colo. Licano, who the gunman shot toward while he was in his car, suffered cuts from the exploding window glass.  He was treated and released from Memorial Hospital Friday evening. (AP Pool Photo/ The Gazette, Christian Murdock)
Shooting surviver Ozy Licano, 61, describes his encounter with the shooter at the Planned Parenthood Clinic Friday, Nov. 27, 2015, in Colorado Springs Colo. Licano, who the gunman shot toward while he was in his car, suffered cuts from the exploding window glass. He was treated and released from Memorial Hospital Friday evening. (AP Pool Photo/ The Gazette, Christian Murdock) 

The Planned Parenthood shooter wore a "cold, stone face" as he fired the opening shots in a deadly, five-hour standoff on Colorado Springs'northwest side Friday, according to a man who said he narrowly survived an encounter with the gunman.

Parked in a handicap spot near Planned Parenthood's front door, Ozy Licano, 61, of Manzanola in eastern Colorado, said he watched helplessly from his driver seat as a rifle-toting assailant pursued a crawling man through the parking lot and into the medical clinic.

Glass shattered in the clinic's front doors before the bearded gunman - tall, trim and middle aged - followed the crawling man inside and unleashed a barrage of gunfire, Licano said.

The gunman appeared to shoot the crawling man before directing gunfire elsewhere.

"He just started shooting up the entryway," said Licano, who recalled the scene in haunted tones Friday evening in a conference room at Memorial Hospital Central in Colorado Springs, where Licano was treated for minor injuries, then released.

A law enforcement source identified the suspect as Robert Lewis Dear. He surrendered late Friday afternoon after repeated gunfire exchanges with police. Three people were killed, including a University of Colorado at Colorado Springs police officer, and nine others were shot, authorities said.

Licano, who had been waiting to pick up friends at the clinic, described a dramatic face-off with the gunman in the moments that followed, and his recollections were among the few eyewitness accounts that emerged Friday.

Dazed by the outburst of violence, Licano said he followed his first instinct and stepped out of his 2002 Honda Accord, looking for any escape.

"I just kind of lost it there. I tried to get out of my car and run. Then I thought about that and said, 'No.' I got back into the car. I started it. I put it in reverse and started backing out."

That's when the assailant calmly turned and leveled his rifle at him, Licano said.

"He was in front of me, and he was aiming at my face. And then I just hit the gas, and he started shooting."

Licano said two bullets flew through his windshield, passing either side of his head, during his escape.

He said he heard other bullets "impact the back of my car" as he drove away, he said. Licano drove to nearby King Soopers, 3250 Centennial Blvd., and sought help inside.

"I told them there was something bad going over there at the Planned Parenthood, and they needed to call 911," he said.

A nurse shopping in the store tended to Licano's injuries while the store went into lockdown. Bleeding from the face and neck, he mistakenly thought he had been wounded in the barrage, but he later concluded his injuries were from flying auto glass, he said.

About 100 customers and 50 staff members were sequestered inside through the duration of the attack, a store spokeswoman said. Licano said he waited approximately 45 minutes to an hour before emergency personnel arrived to take him to Memorial.

Licano said he later learned that his friends were evacuated from the Planned Parenthood by tactical officers and that they didn't personally encounter the gunman.

He described the shooter as a middle-aged, bearded and wearing hunting gear and a hat with ear flaps.

"He was tall, and slim, and he moved like a healthy person, but I think he had a salt and pepper beard," Licano said.

The killer said nothing during his attack, and directed a cold, steely gaze at Licano during the "5 to 10 seconds" they faced each other.

At least 1-2 seconds elapsed between the gunman's shots, suggesting he wasn't armed with an automatic rifle, Licano said.

"It didn't sound like an automatic weapon, because he would have finished me off," he said.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Incognito Mode Your browser is in Incognito mode

You vanished!

We welcome you to read all of our stories by signing into your account. If you don't have a subscription, please subscribe today for daily award winning journalism.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

Some news is free.
Exceptional journalism takes time, effort and your support.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

articles remaining
×
Thank you for your interest in local journalism.
Gain unlimited access, 50% fewer ads and a faster browsing experience.