Suspect in Colorado clinic shooting to appear in court

30 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Ben Carson and Mike Huckabee say Planned Parenthood attack is ‘domestic terrorism’A man arrested over a shooting spree that killed three people and wounded nine at a family planning center in Colorado Springs in the United States makes his first court appearance on Monday.Republican presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Ben Carson have called the shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic that left three dead ‘domestic terrorism’ and a ‘hate crime’.

The nearly six-hour standoff Friday again put US gun culture in the spotlight and triggered renewed scrutiny of Planned Parenthood, a network of not-for-profit women’s health care clinics that offer pregnancy checkups, contraceptives and abortions. The two pro-life GOP candidates were the only two among the presidential field to say that the attack was fueled by anti-abortion ideology – while Carly Fiorina was at the other end of the spectrum, complaining that the murders were being used to ‘demonize’ the pro-life movement. A law-enforcement official — who said Robert Lewis Dear’s rambling statement to cops included a rant about “no more baby parts” — said the comment was among a number of statements he made to authorities after his arrest, making it difficult to know his specific motivation. Robert Lewis Dear, 57, a bearded drifter who surrendered to police at the scene, is expected to eventually face state charges of murder and attempted murder. He is accused of killing a police officer and two civilians — an Iraq war veteran and a mother of two — who were accompanying separate friends to the clinic.

Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains president Vicki Cowart said the violence seen on Friday had been bred by an ‘alarming increase in hateful rhetoric and smear campaigns’ against abortion providers. Neighbors who live near Dear’s former South Carolina home say he hid food in the woods and lived off selling prints of his uncle’s paintings of Southern plantations and the Masters golf tournament. US Attorney John Walsh said investigators have reached out to lawyers from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights and National Security divisions indicating that officials could seek federal charges in addition to state homicide charges. “She was the most lovable person,” Markovsky’s dad, John Ah-King, said from his home in Hawaii. “So kindhearted, just always there when I needed her.” “His greatest joys were his family, his church and his profession,” the widow wrote. “We will cherish his memory, especially those times he spent tossing the football to his son and snuggling with his daughter on the couch.” He appears to have led a bizarre life online, with profiles appearing to match his bio ranting about the apocalypse, and on a site called Sexy Ads, apparently seeking “a discreet relationship, casual sex, BDSM, a long-term relationship, spanking.” A law enforcement official said Dear told authorities “no more baby parts” after being arrested, part of a rambling statement that investigators are parsing to understand the reasoning.

Fiorina claimed during the second Republican debate that she had seen a video in which a ‘fully formed fetus’ was seen on a table with ‘its legs kicking’ while someone could be heard saying ‘we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain’. Colorado Springs, which was blanketed by snow as the drama unfolded over several hours into the early evening Friday, is also ringed by three military bases and the US Air Force Academy. Planned Parenthood executive vice president Dawn Laguens has since hit back at politicians refusing to connect their anti-abortion rhetoric with Friday’s shooting. ‘It is offensive and outrageous that some politicians are now claiming this tragedy has nothing to do with the toxic environment they helped create,’ she said in a statement on Sunday. ‘And, you know, a lot of people, when they don’t have facts, when they don’t have a good backup, that’s when the rhetoric starts. On Halloween, a man armed with a semi-automatic rifle, a revolver and a pistol gunned down a bicyclist and two women at a house for women fighting alcoholism and drug abuse. Rubio claimed during a September interview with KCCI 8 News that Planned Parenthood pushed women into abortions so that fetal tissues could be harvested and said it gave people an incentive to ‘look forward to having more abortions’.

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 case may fit the criteria for a federal domestic terrorism case, but based on my experience, I would be very surprised if this is not simply a local prosecution,” said Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, a former U.S. attorney and state attorney general. “Murder charges will be more than adequate on the local level.” Planned Parenthood said witnesses believe the gunman was motivated by his opposition to abortion. Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders tweeted their support for Planned Parenthood following the shootings.

Whatever authorities decide is sure to be controversial, given the political murkiness of Dear’s statements and the debate over Planned Parenthood, which was reignited in July when anti-abortion activists released undercover video they said showed the group’s personnel negotiating the sale of fetal organs. A wave of demonstrations in support of the organization swept across the nation on Saturday, with demonstrations and candlelit vigils in Colorado and New York. On Sunday it was revealed Jennifer Markovsky, 36, of Honolulu, and Ke’Arre M Stewart, 29, of Waco, Texas, were the two civilian victims killed in the attack.

Meanwhile a candlelit vigil was held at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs campus and a pro-abortion rally was held in Union Square, New York. ‘Every time s*** like this happens, john and I immediately make another donation to planned parenthood,’ she wrote, tweeting a link for fans to donate to the organization. But public records from South Carolina show that he was charged with cruelty to animals for an incident where he shot a dog and charged with being a peeping tom, eavesdropping or peeping in 2002 for an incident after ‘making unwanted advancements’ towards a woman and being seen in the bushes by her house. In 1997 his then wife also called police for a domestic violence evidence where she says he locked her out of their house and pushed her out a window when she entered.

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