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No more baby parts - Planned Parenthood gunman

30 November 2015, 09:14

Colorado Springs - The suspected gunman in a deadly shooting at a women's health clinic that offers abortions said "no more baby parts" after his arrest, a law enforcement official said.

The official could not elaborate on Robert Lewis Dear's comment and spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorised to speak publicly about the investigation.

But police said they will not disclose why the gunman opened fire at the Planned Parenthood clinic, killing three people. Colorado Springs police said in a statement that they are sealing the warrants related to the case against 57-year-old Robert Lewis Dear.

They are not providing information on the weapon used in Friday's shooting, a timeline of events or a motive.

Dear is expected to make his first court appearance on Monday.

Planned Parenthood, a national organisation, has cited witnesses as saying the gunman was motivated by his opposition to abortion, one of America's most sensitive issues.

In July, anti-abortion activists released undercover video they said showed Planned Parenthood personnel negotiating the sale of fetal organs. Planned Parenthood has denied seeking any payments beyond legally permitted reimbursement costs for donating the organs to researchers.

Still, the National Abortion Federation says it has since seen a rise in threats at clinics nationwide.

Spy on him

Anti-abortion activists, part of a group called the Center for Medical Progress, denounced the "barbaric killing spree in Colorado Springs by a violent madman" and offered prayers for the dead and wounded and for their families.

Police haven't said what motivated Dear to carry out the attack. Neighbours described him as reclusive, stashing food in the woods, avoiding eye contact and warning people about government spying. They said he seemed to have few religious or political leanings.

The Planned Parenthood clinic has long been the site of anti-abortion protests, but a Roman Catholic priest who has held weekly Mass in front of it for 20 years said Dear wasn't part of his group.

"I don't recognise him at all," the Rev Bill Carmody said.

At a vigil Saturday for the victims, Rev Nori Rost called the gunman a "domestic terrorist".

Vicki Cowart, the regional head of Planned Parenthood, said the gunman "broke in" to the clinic but didn't get past a locked door leading to the main part of the facility. She said there was no armed security when the shooting began.

A former neighbor of Dear in South Carolina, John Hood, said Dear rarely spoke but once recommended that Hood put a metal roof on his house so the US government couldn't spy on him.

"He was really strange and out there, but I never thought he would do any harm," he said.

Dear also lived part of the time in a cabin with no electricity or running water in North Carolina. When he did talk, neighbors said, it was a rambling combination of a number of topics that didn't make sense.

"If you talked to him, nothing with him was very cognitive," one neighbor, James Russell, said.

Another law enforcement official said that authorities searched a Colorado trailer belonging to Dear but found no explosives. The official, who has direct knowledge of the case, said authorities also talked with a woman living in the trailer. The official, who lacked authorisation to speak publicly about the investigation, spoke on condition of anonymity.

Zigmond Post, who lives near the trailer, said Dear once gave him a pamphlet opposing President Barack Obama.

"He didn't talk about them or anything. He just said, 'Look them over when you get a chance,'" Post said.

- AP


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