News Violence

Accused Planned Parenthood Shooter Had History of Anti-Abortion Violence

Jessica Mason Pieklo

Search and arrest warrants recently unsealed in the case of accused Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooter Robert Lewis Dear Jr. paint a picture of a man increasingly obsessed with anti-abortion violence.

Accused Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooter Robert Lewis Dear Jr. had a history of anti-abortion clinic violence and admired Paul Hill, who was convicted of murder in the 1994 shooting death of abortion provider Dr. John Britton and Britton’s bodyguard.

Those and other details of the events leading up the the November 27 shooting at the Colorado reproductive health-care clinic were revealed in search and arrest warrants recently ordered unsealed by the Colorado Supreme Court. Chief District Judge Gilbert Martinez had ordered the documents sealed, but news organizations petitioned for their release.

Dear faces 179 counts related to the November shooting, including eight counts of first-degree murder.

Three people were killed in the November attack.

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Dear told investigators he had a respect for anti-abortion violence and its perpetrators, according to the documents. Following his arrest in November, Dear told investigators that his goal was to make sure “no more abortions” would be conducted at the Planned Parenthood center.

Dear told investigators that when he “died and went to heaven he would be met by all the aborted fetuses at the gates of heaven, and they would thank them for what he did because his actions saved the lives of other unborn fetuses,” according to one search warrant.

The unsealed warrants reveal Dear admitted to investigators that prior to the Colorado Springs attack, he once put Super Glue in the locks of the doors of a South Carolina abortion clinic, though no date is provided for that event.

Dear’s anti-abortion activities did not end there, according to warrants. In 2009, Dear reportedly sent an email to his son with a link to an Army of God website with information about Hill and other anti-abortion terrorists that Dear described as “heroes.”

The unsealed warrants describe a series of chaotic events leading up to and following the November 27 shooting. Dear had a difficult time locating the health center on the day of the attack. The documents reveal Dear ripped pages out of phone books with information about the Planned Parenthood center before eventually calling the clinic and asking for directions.

Investigators revealed that when Dear arrived in the Planned Parenthood parking lot, he was wearing a “homemade ballistic vest” made out of silver coins and duct tape. He was carrying four rifles, according to the warrant, and told detectives following his arrest that two handguns, a shotgun, and a rifle were in his truck. Dear told investigators he had placed propane tanks around the scene and shot at them from inside the clinic, “hoping they would explode.” Dear also shot at officers through windows of the Planned Parenthood.

The documents confirm that as Dear yelled about “the killing of babies” while being placed in a patrol car after the siege. Dear later told an investigator that he went to the clinic because he was upset with “them performing abortions and the selling of baby parts,” according to the arrest warrant. Dear repeated that sentiment in his first court appearance following the shooting, announcing to the court that he was a “warrior for the babies.”

The Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooting followed a summer of increasing violence and threats against abortion providers after the release of heavily edited videos by the anti-choice front group known as the Center for Medical Progress (CMP).

CMP claimed to show Planned Parenthood officials negotiating the sale of fetal tissue for profit. The release of the videos prompted state and federal investigations into Planned Parenthood, but no investigation uncovered any evidence of wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood officials.

Martinez has ordered Dear undergo a mental competency evaluation, the results of which have not yet been made public. Dear’s next court hearing is scheduled for April 28.

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