Mass shootings typically last no more than seven minutes, but a gunman continued firing on police and others for five hours in Friday’s attack at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, says the Denver Post. Experts say the long battle partly reflected the host of unusual challenges that officers faced from a suspect who was holed up in a building that was engineered to protect occupants from outside danger. Police had trouble locating the suspect and were facing unknown danger as the gunman fired at propane tanks placed in the parking lot outside. “Considering the absolute insane situation, which it was, and the (improvised explosive devices), their response was incredible,” said Chris Grollnek, a Dallas-based tactical expert who has been studying the shooting.
Authorities say the response saved lives and prevented the tragedy from being worse. After a five-hour standoff, three people, including a police officer, were dead and 12 others were injured. “I personally witnessed in the command center how these officers, in the most calm and professional manner, dealt with this situation,” Mayor John Suthers said. “I’m absolutely convinced, watching all that, that the way the police handled themselves, that lives were saved.” Grollnek, a former SWAT officer, says the situation was unlike most shootings. “He could see out, (and the officers) couldn’t see in,” he explained. “You have a chaotic situation with no response manual because the response manual goes out the window when the first shot gets fired.”