Planned Parenthood suspect: ‘I am a warrior for the babies’

10 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Planned Parenthood attack: Most officers shot since 2013.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — The man accused of killing three people in an attack on a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic defied his own defense attorney in court, declaring himself a “warrior for the babies” who would not be silenced by the lawyer tasked with potentially saving his life.

The outburst was one of dozens made by Robert Dear, 57, during his first court appearance at an El Paso County Court courtroom in Colorado Springs on Wednesday. The gunbattle ultimately claimed the life of one officer and injured five, the highest police casualty count in a single incident in the U.S. in two years and a reflection of the danger that mass shootings pose to police.

Despite a constitutional right to remain silent, the accused mass shooter couldn’t keep his mouth shut during a court appearance — ranting and raving about the “atrocities” of abortion. The conflict added a new level of turmoil to a politically charged case that has already sparked debate about when political speech becomes a call for violence. “You’ll never know what I saw in that clinic,” a bearded, unkempt and shackled Dear yelled on Wednesday in one of more than a dozen outbursts as King successfully argued for the gag order by contending that public discussion of the investigation could prejudice potential jurors. “Atrocities. Police are wounded in about 25 percent of cases like the Nov. 27 Colorado shooting, where officers arrive while the gunman is still firing, said Pete Blair, an associate professor of criminal justice at Texas State University. “It makes it the most dangerous call that a police officer can get, that I know of,” said Blair, who co-authored an FBI report that reviewed 160 active shooter incidents that occurred between 2000 and 2013. That’s what Planned Parenthood does.” Dear was arrested after a standoff with police that lasted more than five hours, during which three people died, including a police office and Iraq war veteran, and 12 people were injured, nine of those by gunfire. Can you add that to the list?” He is represented by a court-appointed lawyer Daniel King, a public defender, who was also one of the lawyers for James Holmes, the mass shooter who killed 12 people at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater in 2012. “Do you know who this lawyer is?” Dear yelled in court about King. “He’s the lawyer for the Batman shooter.

King appeared to be trying to follow the same playbook he used in his defense of Colorado theater shooter James Holmes, whom he convinced a jury earlier this year to spare from execution on the grounds of his mental illness. And officers hoping to save victims’ lives often confront the gunman without backup and without much information about what he looks like or where he is. The Associated Press reported that Colorado Springs police have refused to discuss a potential motive in the November 27 attack, but even before his court outbursts there was mounting evidence that he was deeply concerned about abortion. Dispatchers reported at least four civilians had already been shot while officers were trying to pinpoint where the gunman was — at the Planned Parenthood, in a grocery store parking lot or on a nearby ridge — or whether he had left the area entirely.

Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains President Vicki Cowart told the New York Daily News the gunman’s attack had been motivated by anti-abortion views. Three people were killed in the shootings — two civilians and officer Garrett Swasey, a member of the police force at the University of Colorado’s Colorado Springs campus who had gone to help.

While Chief District Court Judge Gilbert Martinez issued a gag order for law enforcement and attorneys, Dear accused defense attorneys of hiding the “truth.” “The babies that were supposed to be aborted that day, could you add them to that list?” Dear said, reported the Denver Post. That’s what they want to seal.” The Post reported that Dear’s attorney King asked the court to order prosecutors to provide them with evidence so the defense team can “learn the depth of Mr. Dear’s mental illness.” After the court appearance, Planned Parenthood’s Cowart released another statement, saying “our focus now is on recovery and making sure this never happens again.” “We continue to provide high-quality, compassionate health care in a safe, supportive environment,” she wrote. “Every day since this terrible tragedy, Planned Parenthood’s doors have been open across Colorado, across our Rocky Mountain region, and across this country. Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said Monday that responding officers rescued 24 people from inside the clinic building and helped remove 300 people from surrounding businesses where they had been hiding while the shooting unfolded. But 4th Judicial District Attorney Dan May asked Martinez to move forward and either require Dear to waive his right to have a preliminary hearing in 35 days or set the hearing.

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