On Monday, a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs reopened for the first time after the Nov. 27 shooting killed three people. Those three people included police officer Garret Swasey and two civilians, Jennifer Markovsky and Ke’Arre Stewart, BuzzFeed reports.
The shooter, Robert Lewis Dear, 57, has been charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder and assault. “I’m guilty. There’s no trial,” he declared in court in December, according to The New York Times. “I’m a warrior for the babies.”
In a statement made by the Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains on Facebook, they said that they are not letting this vicious attack bring them down. “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.”
Vicki Cowart, president of Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains, told reporters, “We are opening today with our eyes to the future,” according to the Colorado Springs Gazette.
Cowart also talked about how difficult the shooting was for the Planned Parenthood staff. “They were strong and they were brave on the day of the shooting, they have been resilient and hardworking since,” she said.
Although it is just the first day back, protesters gathered in front of the building, upset that it was reopening.
Meanwhile, the staff held a welcome back lunch on the day of the reopening, Cowart told The Washington Post. All the staff from the time of the shooting are planning to resume work at the clinic. And while it makes sense to wonder if Planned Parenthood would want to change buildings after a traumatic shooting, the plan was always to reopen the same facility.
“This is our home,” Cowart told the Post.