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Planned Parenthood shooting suspect told police: ‘No more baby parts’

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Robert Lewis Dear told authorities “no more baby parts” after being arrested for the shooting of a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic, according to a law enforcement official, part of a rambling statement that investigators are parsing to understand the reasoning behind an assault that left three dead.

Members of Hope Chapel watch an old figure-skating video of their elder, Garrett Swasey, in Colorado Springs on Sunday. Swasey was killed Friday at a Planned Parenthood clinic. (Daniel Owen/The Gazette)

Members of Hope Chapel watch an old figure-skating video of their elder, Garrett Swasey, in Colorado Springs on Sunday. Swasey was killed Friday at a Planned Parenthood clinic. (Daniel Owen/The Gazette)

Colorado Springs police on Sunday said they would not disclose any information on the motive for the attack, a move that guarantees further speculation over the intention of Dear, whom acquaintances described as an odd, reclusive loner, as he prepares for his initial appearance in state court today.

Planned Parenthood cited witnesses as saying the gunman was motivated by his opposition to abortion. He killed a police officer and two civilians, one of whom was identified by family members Sunday as Colorado Springs woman who had accompanied a friend to the clinic. The father of Jennifer Markovsky, 36, spoke to The Denver Post.

The law enforcement official said the “no more baby parts” comment was among a number of statements he made to authorities after his arrest, making it difficult to know his specific motivation.

Still, U.S. Attorney John Walsh said investigators have 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. 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.

DEAR: Accused of killing 3 people at clinic

DEAR: Accused of killing 3 people at clinic

The attack thrust the clinic to the center of 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.

Planned Parenthood has denied seeking any payments beyond legally permitted reimbursement costs for donating the organs to researchers. Still, the National Abortion Federation says it has since seen a rise in threats at clinics nationwide.

Vicki Cowart, the regional head of Planned Parenthood, said Sunday that the organization has faced hateful speech.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper called the attack “a form of terrorism” and said people need to be mindful of “inflammatory rhetoric.”

Cowart said the gunman “broke in” to the clinic Friday but didn’t get past a locked door leading to the main part of the facility. She said there was no armed security when the shooting began.

He later surrendered to police after an hourslong standoff.

Nine other people were hospitalized, including five officers. Two others besides Markovsky were killed.

Amburh Butler, a friend, said that Iraq War veteran 29-year-old Ke’Arre Stewart had accompanied someone at the clinic when he was killed. He leaves behind two young daughters in Texas, where he grew up. He was discharged from the Army last year.

Former figure skating champion Nancy Kerrigan remembers Garrett Swasey, the Colorado police officer who was killed in a shooting as loyal, caring and a true friend.

She said he was “one of my best friends” as they grew up together practicing figure skating in Melrose, Mass. Before he became a police officer, Swasey was a junior national couples ice dancing champion. An emotional Kerrigan said he always had fun and did everything with a smile.

Cowart said that all 15 clinic employees survived and worked hard to make sure everyone else got into safe spaces and stayed quiet.

Neighbors who lived beside Dear’s former South Carolina home say he hid food in the woods as if he were a survivalist and said he lived off selling prints of his uncle’s paintings of Southern plantations and the Masters golf tournament.

John Hood said Saturday that when he moved to Walterboro, S.C., Dear was living in a doublewide mobile home next door.

He pointed to a wooden fence separating their land and said he put it up because Dear liked to skinny dip.

Hood said Dear rarely talked to him, and when he did, he tended to offer unsolicited advice such as recommending that Hood put a metal roof on his house so the U.S. government couldn’t spy on him.

“He was really strange and out there, but I never thought he would do any harm,” he said.

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