Armed Colo. doc helps others flee from gunman

Feb 29, 2012, 5:22 PM

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) – A Colorado doctor with a concealed-weapon permit said he grabbed his gun and guarded an exit at a medical building as dozens of people fled from a gunman who had taken two hostages.

Authorities in Colorado Springs said the hostages were released before police shot and fatally wounded the gunman Tuesday. No one else was hurt.

Police identified the gunman as Dominic Oliver, 28, of Colorado Springs.

A doctor at the practice, Jeff Ferguson, told KKTV he retrieved his gun from its storage place and protected an exit as an estimated 50 people fled down a stairway.

“If this guy opens this door, I’m going to have to shoot him,” Ferguson said. “I was absolutely prepared to shoot him, yes.”

Police said Oliver 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) 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.'”

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.

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

“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 spotted a police officer. The officer moved the couple to a more protected office and later helped Kelberer get down the stairs.

Negotiators said they 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 said 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.

Court records show Oliver 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 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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Armed Colo. doc helps others flee from gunman