Shooting at Planned Parenthood Adds to Challenges for Congress

30 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Civilians killed in Planned Parenthood shooting identified as mother of 2, Iraq war veteran.

Although Robert Lewis Dear told authorities “no more baby parts” after his arrest on suspicion of several shootings at a Planned Parenthood clinic, according to a law enforcement official, police said Sunday they would not disclose any information on the motive for the attack. Stewart served in the Army’s Fourth Infantry Division and was deployed to Iraq, where Butler said he would often send her letters describing the horrors he saw on the front lines. “He would tell me how terrible it was, how many guys he watched die. He killed a police officer, Garrett Swasey, and two civilians: Jennifer Markovsky, 36, a mother of two; and Ke’Arre Stewart, 29, an Iraq war veteran and father of two. Police haven’t released a possible motive or said whether the clinic was the intended target. “We have a person that’s pretty much off the grid and acting for whatever motivation,” Suthers said on ABC’s “This Week.” “[It’s] very hard to ferret out those folks.” Gov.

Conservatives have accused Planned Parenthood, a nonprofit that provides a range of health services, including abortion, of illegally selling baby parts, an accusation it has strenuously denied. John Hickenlooper of Colorado, a Democrat, called the shooting a “form of terrorism” on CNN’s “State of the Union,” and urged the country to find ways “to make sure we keep guns out of the hands of people that are unstable.” Colorado has been the site of two other mass shootings, at Columbine High School in 1999 and at a movie theater in Aurora in 2012. Dear, a 57-year-old South Carolina native who moved to Colorado, made the remarks during his arrest after a standoff lasting several hours at the Colorado Springs clinic on Friday, NBC News and other media outlets reported, citing unnamed law enforcement authorities.

The Army stationed Stewart at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs in 2013 before he was discharged from the military the following year. “He went someplace where people expect to die, only to come back … and be killed.” Markovsky and Stewart’s identities were confirmed by officials in Colorado Sunday afternoon, who said it was a preliminary identification, adding that a full identification would be provided once autopsies were completed. Swasey, who worked at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, was married with two children and was a co-pastor at Hope Chapel, an evangelical church. What he did is domestic terrorism, and what he did is absolutely abominable, especially to us in the pro-life movement, because there’s nothing about any of us that would condone or in any way look the other way on something like this. Butler said she had learned of Stewart’s death from friends and reached out to his brother, Leyonte Chandler, who confirmed that Stewart had died in the attack.

Law enforcement sources told ABC News that Dear made rambling comments during the incident, some of which suggested animosity toward the health care provider. They said the Justice Department is building a domestic terrorism case against Dear, though it would only move forward if somehow the state capital case was sidetracked. Colorado Springs police, in a tweet on Sunday, said unofficial leaks could jeopardize the investigation and prosecution, without specifically mentioning the words attributed to Dear. Former figure skating champion Nancy Kerrigan told media outlets Sunday that Garrett Swasey was “one of my best friends” as they grew up together practicing figure skating in Melrose, Mass.

In a Facebook post, her father, John Ah-King, wrote, “To my daughter Jennifer I’m going to miss so much, I lost you in a senseless shooting in Colorado Springs.” “He served our country, and he didn’t deserve to die that way,” she said Sunday. “I can’t fathom — I guess in my mind, you go all the way to Iraq,” she added, “and you make it home,” only to die here. John Walsh said investigators had been in touch with lawyers from the Justice Department’s civil rights and national security divisions, suggesting officials could pursue federal charges in addition to state homicide ones. While calling the shooting “an incredible tragedy,” Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee on Sunday dismissed talk that harsh anti-abortion rhetoric may have contributed to the attack. “There’s no excuse for killing other people, whether it’s inside …

One possible avenue is the 1994 Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, which makes it a crime to injure or intimidate clinic patients and employees. The attack thrust the clinic into the center of the debate over Planned Parenthood, which was reignited in July when antiabortion activists released undercover video they said showed the group’s personnel negotiating the sale of fetal organs. Still, the National Abortion Federation says it has since seen a rise in threats at clinics nationwide. “I can’t believe that this isn’t contributing to some folks, mentally unwell or not, thinking that it’s OK to — to target Planned Parenthood or to target abortion providers,” she said. Planned Parenthood recently announced it was discontinuing the practice, aiming to tamp down the controversy, but critics say is an admission of guilt. The official told AP he couldn’t elaborate about the comment and spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak publicly about the ongoing investigation.

John Hickenlooper on CNN’s “State of the Union” called the attack “a form of terrorism” and said people needed to be mindful of “inflammatory rhetoric.” Zigmond Post Jr. said Dear once gave him a pamphlet critical of President Barack Obama. (Additional reporting by Fiona Ortiz in Chicago, Daniel Wallis in Denver, Frank McGurty in New York, Megan Cassella in Washington, David Bailey in Minneapolis and Colleen Jenkins in Charlotte, N.C.; Writing by Frank McGurty; Editing by Jonathan Oatis, Alan Crosby and Leslie Adler)

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