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No more baby parts,’ suspect in attack at Colo. Planned Parenthood clinic


     

 The gunman suspected of storming a Planned Parenthood clinic and killing a police officer and two others used the phrase “no more baby parts’’ to explain his act, according to a law enforcement official, a comment sure to further inflame the heated rhetoric surrounding abortion.
The attack on the clinic, allegedly by Robert Lewis Dear Jr.,was “definitely politically motivated,’’ said the official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is still underway. NBC News, which first reported the comment, said that Dear also mentioned President Obama in a range of statements to investigators that left his precise motivation unclear.
Yet even as authorities released few details about Friday’s shootings, the politics of the highly charged abortion issue seemed to outstrip their efforts to be methodical. While antiabortion activists denied any knowledge of Dear and said he is not affiliated with their movement, pro-choice activists countered that comments by conservatives against Planned Parenthood had precipitated the violence .
Vicki Cowart, president of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, cited “eyewitness accounts” in asserting that Dear “was motivated by opposition to safe and legal abortion.”
“We’ve seen an alarming increase in hateful rhetoric and smear campaigns against abortion providers and patients over the last few months,” she said in a statement. “That environment breeds acts of violence.”
Planned Parenthood, which provides abortions and other health-care services, has been at the center of a political storm as the 2016 presidential campaign heats up. Republican candidates have denounced the organization, especially after an antiabortion group released a series of surreptitiously filmed videos in which Planned Parenthood officials discussed the techniques and financial aspects of harvesting fetal-tissue samples for scientific research.
It was at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic where Dear, 57, is accused of fatally shooting University of Colorado police officer Garrett Swasey and two as-yet unnamed civilians. At least four other officers and five more civilians were also injured. Officials said Saturday that the injured victims were expected to recover.
Dear was described by people who know him as a malcontent and drifter who has had numerous run-ins with the law. Dear, who moved to Colorado last year, is being held without bond and is scheduled to appear in court Monday, local media reported.
He is expected to first face state charges and then additional federal charges, said the law enforcement official. It was unclear Saturday if an attorney for Dear had been appointed.
On Saturday, witnesses described scenes of chaos and carnage as the gunshots began on a traditionally quiet Friday of post-Thanksgiving relaxation, with police responding to a call for help from the clinic, in a bustling area near a shopping center, medical building, grocery store and restaurants.
A burst of gunfire early on gave way to relative calm in the afternoon, but witnesses said gunfire started again in the evening. Many workers and shoppers in the area were told to hunker down in place, whether it be in the kitchen of their restaurant or the back seat of their car. Some remained there for hours as snow accumulated and the sky darkened.
Authorities said that Dear was armed with what they described as a long gun and had also brought into the clinic several unspecified items that could have been explosives. President Obama, in his first reaction to the shootings, issued a refrain for more gun-control measures, which has become a depressingly familiar ritual after mass shootings.
But unlike after other incidents — such as June’s shooting deaths of nine people in a historic black church in Charleston, S.C. — Obama limited his remarks to a written statement. Regardless of the motive, he said, the frequency of mass killings in the United States is unacceptable.
“This is not normal. We can’t let it become normal,” the president said. “If we truly care about this . . . then we have to do something about the easy accessibility of weapons of war on our streets to people who have no business wielding them. Period. Enough is enough.”
On the Republican campaign trail, candidates who have been full-throated in their denunciations of Planned Parenthood for much of the year fell nearly silent. Only Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) and Ohio Gov. John Kasich referred to the shootings, but neither mentioned Planned Parenthood.
All three leading Democratic candidates issued statements supporting Planned Parenthood, and they were joined by others in the pro-choice community who condemned the criticism of the organization and said it led to the shootings.
Referring to antiabortion groups, Vicki Saporta, president of the National Abortion Federation, an association for abortion providers, said : “They have ignited a firestorm of hate. They knew there could be these types of consequences. . . . It’s not a huge surprise that somebody would take this type of action.”
Antiabortion groups were quick to denounce the shooting and distance themselves from Dear, with numerous activists saying they have never interacted with or heard of him. Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, a controversial group that tracks abortion clinics and posts information about abortion doctors on its Web site, said he immediately entered Dear’s name into his membership database and came up empty.
“One thing we do know is the guy is a very dangerous, unstable individual who desired to kill people, and that is not in any way what the pro-life movement stands for,” Newman said.
The law enforcement response to the shootings also came under scrutiny on Saturday because authorities had engaged in a five-hour standoff with the shooter on Friday. The first call for help came in to the Colorado Springs Emergency Communications Center about 11:38 a.m. Mountain time authorities said, with numerous officers and agents deploying to the 3400 block of Centennial Boulevard.
Dear was taken into custody at 4:52 p.m. At various points during the intervening hours, officials said the shooter had been contained, then appeared to reverse themselves.
But Jim Davis, who formerly headed the FBI’s Denver division and served as executive director of Colorado’s Public Safety Department, said the response “went exactly as planned” and reflected what was learned from the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo. Two students killed 12 students, a teacher and themselves in that incident, and authorities were later criticized for waiting too long to intervene.
“The lesson from Columbine is we can’t wait for communications to be set up, can’t wait for a tactical team to arrive, so police are trained to just go to the sound of the gunfire,’’ Davis said. He said some of Friday’s confusion could have come from people tweeting information from police scanners, which can be inaccurate.
Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, who along with officers watched the events unfold on live surveillance video from security cameras in the clinic, told NBC that the death toll could have been much higher.
“I have no doubt that but for the way they handled this, there could have been even more victims,” he said.
Lowery and Markon reported from Washington. Sandhya Somashekhar, Peter Holley, Jennifer Jenkins, Alice Crites and Julie Tate in Washington contributed to this report.


Wesley Lowery is a national reporter covering law enforcement and justice for the Washington Post. He previously covered Congress and national politics.

Danielle Paquette is a reporter covering the intersection of people and policy. She’s from Indianapolis and previously worked for the Tampa Bay Times. Follow her on Twitter: @Dpaqreport.

Jerry Markon covers the Department of Homeland Security for the Post’s National Desk. He also serves as lead Web and newspaper writer for major breaking national news.
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181 Comments

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WilliGeorge
9:01 PM CST
Fear and Hate Party of the crazies A+...Thy will be done
Teri Coley Adams
8:59 PM CST
Why don't they just leave abortion laws as they are? Roe vs. Wade still stands but pro-lifers are being underhanded by the methods they use to make sure abortion clinics are closing left and right. What good is Roe vs. Wade if there are no facilities left that perform abortions? Women are no longer in control of their own bodies. 1950 will be back before too long..  
JoRoSc
8:59 PM CST
Vicki Cowart, “We’ve seen an alarming increase in hateful rhetoric and smear campaigns against abortion providers and patients over the last few months,” she said in a statement. “That environment breeds acts of violence.” Of course, she never stops to consider her part in supporting women who do acts of violence to their own children. Yes. They mangle their own children to pieces. She is culpable of how many deaths daily? What hypocrisy!
janklow
8:59 PM CST
"President Obama, in his first reaction to the shootings, issued a refrain for more gun-control measures, which has become a depressingly familiar ritual after mass shootings." 
 
mainly depressing because for all of his intellect, he seems to think the root cause is always "well, guns exist."
Stronniesblues
8:58 PM CST
Look at that crazy expression, just like Adam Lanza and the mass-shooter in Tuscon.  
 
Why is it so easy for lunatics to buy guns? The NRA must be very proud of its 2015 body count.
subdolphin
8:58 PM CST
Make the best of this situation folks. Donate to Planned Parenthood in honor of the victims.
Giedi Prime
9:00 PM CST
I would but their privacy policy for donors is, frankly, horrible: 
 
We may disclose the information we collect from or about you through the Online Services: 
 
to our affiliates; 
to service providers who work on our behalf; 
to other organizations that work with us for the provision of co-branded communications about Planned Parenthood and those organizations’ products or services; 
to other organizations with whom Planned Parenthood participates in exchanges of donor information (e.g., donor list rental) and the service providers that facilitate such exchanges; 
as required by law; 
when required to protect our rights or your safety or the safety of others, or to detect, prevent, or respond to misuse of the Online Services; and 
to the extent reasonably necessary to proceed with the negotiation or completion of a merger, acquisition, or sale of all or a portion of our assets. 
Sideways-AT
8:56 PM CST [Edited]
"The 2nd does not give the right to murder. You didn't know that?" 
 
Sure it does — it afforded him the opportunity to buy a weapon of mass destruction and unleash it upon civilians.  
 
There is a relationship between slavery and sin, climate change and carbon emissions, and domestic terrorism and guns.
Giedi Prime
8:58 PM CST
No. Our law gives you the right to kill ... in certain very limited circumstances. And guns are the best tool for that job. 
 
But obviously, they give a nut fearsome destructive power, yes.
DougalE
8:58 PM CST
Semantic nonsense. Does the first amendment give you the right to yell fire in a crowded theater.  
 
The relation between climate change and carbon emissions has not yet been quantified. Deal with it.
Stronniesblues
8:59 PM CST
^ lol right wing kooks hate science, logic, and reason, and would be reduced to quivering sacks of slime if they couldn't clutch their guns
janklow
8:59 PM CST
hey, while we're at it, why don't we render the term "weapon of mass destruction" meaningless?
Stronniesblues
9:01 PM CST
he wasn't using a slingshot, now was he? 
 
when that many cops are shot, there is some evil firepower in the hands of the criminal 
 
Stronniesblues
9:01 PM CST
he wasn't using a slingshot, now was he? 
 
when that many cops are shot, there is some evil firepower in the hands of the criminal 
 
Mack Cyrill
9:01 PM CST
Not a nut....just another gun-totting, Liberal hating, Right wing terrorist.
Joel Frese
8:55 PM CST
Sure. Don't terminate the fetus but it's fine to kill people. Riiiiiiiight. I'm telling you, white christian terrorists are the next big thing. They can get all the guns they want in good ol US of A.
DougalE
9:00 PM CST
How do you know he was a Christian? I'm guessing he hadn't been in church for a long time. If he'd been going every Sunday, the chances of him doing something like this would have been reduced.
danangme
8:55 PM CST
The Resuckmyasses charges against PPH and Benghazi are one in the same,NONSENSE,if not file criminal charges or go fck yourselves
mesoness
8:54 PM CST
So the Democrats are in favor of censoring any criticism of Planned Parenthood by Republicans, because a mentally ill loser went on a rampage. 
 
It's clear who the totalitarians are here.
Giedi Prime
8:56 PM CST
Maybe if you could quote someone who said that it wouldn't sound quite so much like garden variety craven strawmanning.
Applarch
8:57 PM CST
Sorry, it was a terrorist act instigated by inflammatory language from Republican politicians.
Mack Cyrill
8:53 PM CST
The NRA and the leadership and current cast of clowns running for president under the mantel of the Tea Party should be arrested for complicity. This is another Act of Terror on the part of Radical Rightwing Extremists. The NRA and Tea Party own these Terrorists.
Gussie Fink-Nottle
8:54 PM CST
m'kay 
 
Let's just shred the Constitution because you're sad.
mesoness
8:56 PM CST
Another totalitarian speaks up. Yeah, let's arrest anyone whose opinion you dislike, because hey, some lunatic might, just might have gotten a bad idea from them.
Applarch
8:59 PM CST
Does the phrase 'shouting fire in a crowded theater" ring a bell?
PoliticallyIncorrect4
8:53 PM CST
Oh please. There is more connection between the violent Occupy Wall Street fanatics and the Democratic Party than between this lunatic and the prolife movement of which he himself doesn't consider a part of. This article, and others in the same vein, are just a cheap attempt at smearing the prolife movement. Guess what, we are not going anywhere. Neither the baby killers at Planned Parenthood not this murderer will make us lose steam. We will continue to fight peacefully and legally against the injustice of abortion. God bless the victims of this tragedy, one of them - the police officer- was a prolife advocate.
Giedi Prime
8:55 PM CST
"This article, and others in the same vein, are just a cheap attempt at smearing the prolife movement." 
 
Oh no, it's a cheap attempt to generate clickbait using a divisive theme. In other words, WaPo news.
mesoness
8:55 PM CST
The implication is that we should not criticize Planned Parenthood, lest another nut-ball attack them. By that standard, the left demonstrates that it simply wants to silence all opposition.
PoliticallyIncorrect4
8:56 PM CST
Exactly, which is why i am saying here that Planned Parenthood are a bunch of baby killers even though I, at the same time, condemn the shooting in no ambiguous terms. Two wrongs don't make a right.
Mack Cyrill
8:57 PM CST
Radical Rightwing Extremists. Just say it. It flows so easily every time another terrorist goes on a shooting rampage. Happy Xmas.
toolazytoo
8:56 PM CST
Not cheap, rather obvious. You reap what you sow.
PoliticallyIncorrect4
8:57 PM CST
Are you talking about Planned Parenthood reaping what they sowed with their murders? Because frankly, every person that I know in the prolife movement is peaceful and non violent.
Danleswel
8:57 PM CST
A fetus is not a baby. An egg is not a chicken. A seed is not a plant. I think the prolife movement should be renamed "profetus movement". In truth, that's what it is. I'd be entertained by a profetus demonstration.
Applarch
9:01 PM CST
At the point that most abortions occur, the fetus is a blob of cells the size and shape of a kidney bean without a functioning brain. No brain function, no life.
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Scott Perry
8:53 PM CST
Last month Planned Parenthood announced that they would no longer selling any more medical tissues for research purposes. Please seehttp://www.lifenews.com/2015/10/13/planned-parenth... Apparently Mr. Dear killed those people out of a mistaken anger about an outdated fact that's no longer even true. Planned Parenthood no longer sells abortion tissues! I find it hard to understand how the irresponsible media has allowed such hate mongers to continue in their now sadly and now mistakenly outdated belief in this. In fact, I find it hard to understand how even the author of this article itself, still fails to report that that one very critical point of information in this article itself. Planned Parenthood No Longer Sells Baby Parts!!
Rick405
8:53 PM CST
Politicians, talk show hosts and other are always referring to the First Amendment. But the freedom of speech in no way reduces that speech can and does have consequences, 
even though they essentially deny that.
HectorR
8:48 PM CST
Fortunately this guy's comment proves he is not crazy, thus he can be prosecuted to the max.
Nathanw78
8:46 PM CST
Great,now the freedom and gun haters have another exuse to try to take our guns. I have no sympathy for people who murder baby's. I hate to see a cop killed though.
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