The suspect of the Planned Parenthood shooting, an incident that led to the deaths of three people, including a mother of two, appeared in court via video.
Robert Dear, the assailant who opened fire at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, faces a first-degree murder charge. As reported by ABC News, if convicted, he could be sentenced to life in prison up to death penalty. Public defender, Daniel King, was appointed as Dear’s attorney. King has previously represented the perpetrator of the Aurora movie theater shooting, James Holmes.
Some of the comments Dear made during the shooting suggest that he held animosity towards the healthcare provider. No possible motive has been determined, nor has it been made clear whether the clinic was the intended target. District Attorney Dan May said it hasn’t been decided whether his office will bring death penalty charges against Dear.
Victims of the massacre on Friday included Garrett Swasey, Ke’Arre Marcell Stewart and Jennifer Markovsky.
While the Planned Parenthood clinics nationwide opened Monday, the one in Colorado Springs remained closed as investigation in the incident continued. In a statement, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund said, “Across the country, (Planned Parenthood) health centers are opening this morning. With heads high and heavy hearts, (Planned Parenthood) staff provide care — no matter what.”
The National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence mourned the deaths of the victims. Partnership chairman Jim Johnson, the police chief in Maryland’s Baltimore County, said, “As gun violence devastates community after community, and active shooter incidents occur again and again with greater frequency, it is imperative that we address this problem now. We must do much more to keep guns from those intent on doing harm.”
A case of domestic terrorism is being built against Dear by the Justice Department.
As reported by USA Today, Vice President Joe Biden urged leaders to “force a concensus” and take action against gun control. “It’s time for our political system to catch up with the overwhelming majority of the American people who want background checks, who want to keep assault weapons off our streets and out of the hands of people who have no business firing them,” he said. “We’ve done it before. We must do it again. Enough is enough.”