A police official confirmed that Dear made the comments shortly after he was taken into custody, shedding light on his motives. Beyond the brief statement, police have provided no further information on Dear’s motives. Authorities have also yet to identify two of the victims, but did confirm that all of the PP employees are accounted for. The third victim, 44-year-old police officer Garrett Swasey, was a father of two.
In a statement issued last night Vicki Cowart, president of Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains, called the shootings an “appalling act of violence targeting access to health care and terrorizing skilled and dedicated health care professionals.” She added that “we don’t back down because of protestors, violent extremists, or anyone else.”
Last night, Cowart also confirmed that when the shooting began, the clinic’s employees immediately began their lockdown procedures—a telling action that speaks to the familiar violence at center’s like this one. The Guardian reports:
Staff at the clinic, which has in the past been the target of anti-abortion protests, silenced their cellphones and worked hard to make sure people in the clinic got into safe spaces and stayed quiet. Managers also put word out to colleagues not to call those in the building in case any telephones would still ring.
“This is a community that’s been under attack,” Cowart said. “That is what we’re trained to do. We place the safety of our patients and staff above all else.”
President Barack Obama was quick to condemn the attack and his sentiments were quickly echoed by Democratic primary candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. Republican contenders have been a bit slower to respond. Late yesterday, Ted Cruz called the attack “unacceptable, horrific and wrong.” This morning, Mike Huckabee used surprisingly strong language, calling the attack “domestic terrorism.”
Image via Kody Fisher/FOX21 News via AP