US shooter spoke of ‘no more baby parts’

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

WASH­ING­TON: A sus­pected shooter re­port­edly spoke of “no more baby parts” af­ter his ar­rest fol­low­ing a five­hour siege of a fam­ily plan­ning clinic in Colorado Springs that left three peo­ple dead, in­clud­ing a po­lice of­fi­cer. De­tails be­gan to emerge Satur­day about what may have driven the sus­pect, Robert Lewis Dear, 57, to en­ter the Planned Par­ent­hood clinic with a high-pow­ered ri­fle on Fri­day and fire on po­lice and civil­ians out­side the build­ing. The clinic per­forms abor­tions - a highly emo­tive and di­vi­sive is­sue in Amer­ica.

NBC News, cit­ing two law en­force­ment of­fi­cials, said that when ques­tioned af­ter his ar­rest Dear men­tioned “no more baby parts” in ref­er­ence to Planned Par­ent­hood. The agency came un­der in­tense scru­tiny ear­lier this year over videos pur­port­edly show­ing that it was in­volved in traf­fick­ing fe­tal or­gans and tis­sue - al­le­ga­tions that it has ve­he­mently de­nied.

Dear also men­tioned Pres­i­dent Barack Obama, so the sources told NBC that it was un­clear whether he tar­geted the clinic be­cause of abor­tions. How­ever for Vicki Cowart, pres­i­dent and CEO of Planned Par­ent­hood Rocky Moun­tains, the con­nec­tion was clear. “Eye­wit­nesses con­firm” that Dear “was mo­ti­vated by op­po­si­tion to safe and le­gal abor­tion,” Cowart said. “This is an ap­palling act of violence tar­get­ing ac­cess to health­care and ter­ror­iz­ing skilled and ded­i­cated health care pro­fes­sion­als.”

Re­act­ing to the shoot­ing, Obama made an im­pas­sioned call for tighter con­trols on mil­i­tary-style weapons. “This is not nor­mal. We can’t let it be­come nor­mal,” a frus­trated Obama 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. “Enough is enough.”

Planned Par­ent­hood - a ma­jor provider of women’s health ser­vices that re­ceives fund­ing from the gov­ern­ment - of­fers pre­ven­tive check­ups, con­tra­cep­tives and abor­tions. It has 700 clin­ics around the United States and has been vi­o­lently tar­geted be­fore. “We’ve seen an alarm­ing in­crease in hate­ful rhetoric and smear cam­paigns against abor­tion providers and pa­tients over the last few months. That en­vi­ron­ment breeds acts of violence,” Cowart said. “We should not have to live in a world where ac­cess­ing health­care in­cludes safe rooms and bul­let-proof glass.”

Com­mu­nity in Mourn­ing

Po­lice and of­fi­cials said lit­tle about Dear, who ap­peared in po­lice book­ing pho­tos with a bushy gray beard. But US me­dia de­scribed him as a seem­ingly trou­bled loner who had had sev­eral pre­vi­ous but mi­nor brushes with the law. The Colorado Springs Gazette said he had ar­rest records in South and North Carolina on mis­de­meanor charges, and said he also faced peep­ing Tom charges in 2002 in South Carolina that were dis­missed.

Mayor John Suthers, who along with po­lice and other of­fi­cials watched the drama un­fold on the clinic’s se­cu­rity cam­eras, paid trib­ute to po­lice for haul­ing in the gunman with­out fur­ther blood­shed. The wounded in­cluded five po­lice, but none suf­fered se­ri­ous in­jury. Dear en­tered the Planned Par­ent­hood build­ing be­fore noon Fri­day and started shoot­ing from a win­dow. Sev­eral peo­ple man­aged to flee the build­ing, run­ning out into the snowy street, while oth­ers hid in the sanc­tu­ary of a clinic safe room. Po­lice said 24 peo­ple who at one point were held hostage were evac­u­ated un­harmed. “We are in mourn­ing to­day,” Suthers told a news con­fer­ence, say­ing that po­lice, par­tic­u­larly SWAT teams, were “re­spon­si­ble for saving many, many lives.” The dead po­lice­man was iden­ti­fied as Gar­rett Swasey, 44, a cam­pus of­fi­cer at the Univer­sity of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Of­fi­cials were ex­pected to name the two other dead to­day. — AFP

AL-BIREH: Pales­tini­ans rush to help a demon­stra­tor, wounded in the eye, dur­ing clashes with Is­raeli se­cu­rity forces fol­low­ing a demonstration against Is­raeli oc­cu­pa­tion in this Pales­tinian town on the out­skirts of Ra­mal­lah in the West Bank yes­ter­day. — AFP

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