02/29/2012

Colo. suspect shot by police after taking hostages

Local news reports suspect upset over price of puppy he was trying to buy

By AP Staff
Associated Press

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A man pulled out a gun at a Colorado Springs medical building Tuesday, holding two people hostage and sending dozens of others fleeing for their lives before a police officer shot him, and he died hours later.

No one else was hurt.

Police said the man, 28-year-old Dominic Oliver of Colorado Springs, showed up with a gun at the Urological Associates office at about noon. He was angry at a medical office employee and took her and another person hostage, The Gazette reported.

Oliver later released the hostages, but three other people remained in the building. Police said the three were hiding from Oliver.

A doctor at the practice, Jeff Ferguson, was in the building when Oliver arrived. He described the scene to KKTV, saying the man was yelling as he pulled out his gun in the reception area.

"(Oliver) said, `Everyone get on the ground,' and it was chaos after that as you can imagine," Ferguson said. "When you heard his voice, I was expecting any second to hear the shots ring out. I thought, `OK, this guy's going to start shooting people right now.'"

Ferguson said he has a concealed weapons permit and had a gun stored nearby, which he grabbed. He stood between the gunman and others as an estimated 20 employees and 30 patients went down some stairs and exited the building.

Some of the patients were in surgical gowns or partially undressed as they left the building, Ferguson told The Gazette. When Ferguson left, the hostages were still inside.

Negotiators tried to get Oliver to surrender peacefully before officers moved in to try to rescue the three people who were still hiding in the building.

Police say an officer shot the suspect during an "armed confrontation" after a three-hour standoff. It's unclear if Oliver fired his gun.

He was rushed to Memorial Central Hospital, where he died hours later.

Larry Kelberer and his wife, Arlene, were not hostages but were temporarily trapped in the building during the ordeal.

"There was screaming and yelling and everyone was yelling to call 911," Kelberer told The Gazette. "One woman was really upset and kept carrying on and saying, `Somebody hug me. Somebody hug me.'"

Kelberer uses a walker and was unsure if he could make it down the stairs, so he and his wife locked themselves in an office. After about a half-hour, his wife poked her head out and spotted a police officer. The officer moved the couple to a more protected office and then later helped Kelberer get down the stairs.

Dozens of people from several offices in the building were evacuated safely, and nearby schools were locked down during the standoff. More than a dozen police and fire department vehicles and ambulances lined the street near the office during the incident.

Court records show Oliver has had minor run-ins with authorities over the years, including underage drinking and traffic offenses, The Denver Post Reported. In 2007, he was charged with ownership of a dangerous dog causing bodily injury, but the charge was later dismissed, records show.

The officer who shot Oliver has not been identified but was placed on administrative leave, a routine procedure.

Copyright 2012 Associated Press

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