What the Planned Parenthood Shooter Wanted

Court documents reveal new details about the man who killed three people in a Colorado Springs clinic last November.

Andy Cross / Reuters

Robert Dear was inspired by previous abortion clinic attackers and the promise of being met at the gates of heaven by aborted fetuses who would thank him, according to court documents related to the Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado Springs last November.

Dear has admitted to taking over the clinic and killing three people, none of whom worked there. The documents, which contain chilling details, were released this week to media outlets that had petitioned the Colorado Supreme Court for months.

Dear, who is charged with 179 criminal counts, thought his actions “saved lives of other unborn fetuses.” He was particularly incensed over allegations that Planned Parenthood clinics across the country were supposedly selling “baby parts”—claims that circulated after anti-abortion activists released heavily edited videos last year, which became a campaign talking point for Republican presidential candidates.

Along with the three people killed in the November attack, Dear also injured nine people using, among other weapons, four Soviet-style SKS semi-automatic rifles, according to court documents. Police also found a shotgun, a rifle, and two handguns in his truck. From within the building, Dear also shot at propane tanks in the parking lot, hoping they would explode, the documents reveal. Before the standoff with police even began, Dear approached a woman outside the clinic and told her, “You shouldn’t have come here today,” before shooting her multiple times in the right arm, according to the court documents.

Despite wearing a ballistic vest made of silver coins and duct tape, according to court documents, Dear sustained a gunshot wound to the stomach.

Dear often spoke highly of Paul Hill, who in 1994 killed an abortion provider and his bodyguard in Pensacola, Florida. Hill was executed in 2003. Court documents also showed that Dear used to put superglue in the locks of South Carolina abortion clinics, to prevent people from entering. He would often post anti-abortion comments online and thought President Obama was the antichrist, court documents also show.

Later this month, Dear will head back to court, where a judge will determine his mental competency.