Editor’s note: Update as of 3:11pm EST: According to the New York Times, the suspect in custody cited displeasure with Pouillon’s protests in front of children at the school where he was shot and killed. Still, however, investigators have not cited a reason for the murder of the second victim, the owner of a local gravel-pit.
The Flint Journal is reporting that well known Owosso-based anti-abortion activist James Pouillion, 63, has been shot to death in front of Owosso High School. The shooting happened at approximately 7:30 a.m.
Police have said they do not know if Pouillion’s murder was connected to his activism, reports the Lansing State Journal.
Susan Wooden, interim superintendent of the Owosso schools, told the State Journal that Pouillion was a regular off and on protestor at the school. She said the district has long worried about the potential for violence as a result of his protests.
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“We had spoken to the gentleman before and insisted that he be off the school property with his message,” Wooden said. She said the victim had been picketing this morning just off school property before the incident.
In addition, a second homicide was discovered shortly after the Pouillion murder. WLNS, the Lansing CBS affiliate, reports police have confirmed the two homicides are connected and that they have a suspect in custody.
The shooting in this rural Shiawassee county town resulted in a lock down of the school, which has since been lifted.
The Flint Journal reports that the activist has had several incidents with police and city officials.
Pouillon was arrested in 1994 for disorderly conduct, in a case where he allegedly harassed parents as they took their children to day care at First Congregational Church in Owosso.
In a 2003 Flint Journal report of the case, Pouillon said that he targeted the church because it had hosted a 25th anniversary celebration for the local Planned Parenthood office.
At the time, Pouillon said he urged parents escorting children, “Don’t take your kids to that church. They kill babies in there. They support abortion.”
The 1994 police report indicated Pouillon was screaming at pre-school children and their mothers but Pouillon said he and a church member were shouting only because they stood hundreds of feet apart.
The state Supreme Court ordered the state Court of Appeals to rule on the case, which overturned Pouillon’s conviction in 2003.
He is said to have traveled to both Flint and Saginaw to pray outside abortion clinics and was supposed to be present at a clinic in Flint today.