When Was The Last Major Shooting At Planned Parenthood? Attacks On Organization Are Too Common
A gunman has been captured early Friday evening following five hours in which the suspect posed an active threat to a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood office and surrounding buildings. The unknown gunman reportedly entered the facility at around 11:33 a.m. on Friday and began opening fire, injuring four officers and many other civilians. It has been reported that the suspect left items in front of and inside the Planned Parenthood office, though it's unclear what those objects may be. Though there have been many attacks on the organization over the years, the last major shooting at Planned Parenthood occurred 11 years ago at the Planned Parenthood in Brookline, Massachusetts. Update: Three people have been confirmed dead: one police officer identified as Officer Garrett Swasey of the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs Police Department, and two civilians. A law enforcement source tells CNN the shooting suspect has been identified as Robert Lewis Dear, and he has been taken into custody.
John C. Salvi III reportedly attacked two different clinics on Dec. 30, 1994, one of which was a Planned Parenthood facility in the Boston metro area. Salvi had shot and killed two women at the Brookline clinic and was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder, along with five counts of armed assault with intent to murder. His victims were a receptionist and security guard at the office. Following their deaths, Salvi fled and was captured in Northfolk, Virginia after reportedly opening fire at another abortion clinic there. He was convicted and received two life sentences without parole, though that conviction was eventually overturned due to a technicality. Salvi would not live to see the change of conviction, however, as he had committed suicide in prison mere months before.
Planned Parenthood has a history of being targeted by vandals and arsonists. As it has seen innocuous protests, so too have there been violent incidents at facilities around the country. Earlier this year in September, a Pullman, Washington Planned Parenthood clinic was burned by an arsonist. Two years ago in Bloomington, Indiana, Benjamin David Curell reportedly vandalized a Planned Parenthood facility with red paint and brandished a hatchet. He pleaded guilty to damaging property and was sentenced to three years probation. Curell reportedly stated that his motives were due to being unhappy with Planned Parenthood offering abortion services.
The identity of the gunman captured in Colorado Springs has yet to be released and his motives are currently unknown. Though Salvi was notoriously quiet about his reasons for attacking two reproductive health clinics, authorities reportedly found anti-abortion literature in his home. The Colorado Springs suspect may never provide an answer as to why he chose to target Planned Parenthood. Authorities are looking to interview the man, potentially shedding light on the most recent major shooting to happen at a Planned Parenthood.