The man accused of killing three people and injuring nine others during a shooting rampage at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado last year told police that he unsuccessfully tried to set off an explosion during this siege, according to authorities.
Detectives said Robert Lewis Dear Jr., 57, who has been held without bond since the November shooting, told them that he brought propane tanks to the Colorado Springs clinic thinking that they would blow up when he shot them. Dear did shoot them, but the explosion never happened, police said.
This was one of several details included in a set of documents released Monday by a Colorado court. These documents — an arrest report and a set of search warrants — offer a new account of how the shooting spree unfolded. They also provide a glimpse at Dear’s state of mind, describing how he told detectives that he expected to go to heaven and “be met by all the aborted fetuses at the gates of heaven and they would thank him.”
Dear has undergone a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation. It found that Dear was incompetent, according to court filings from his attorneys, but the court has not yet issued a ruling. A competency hearing is scheduled for April 28.
Police were called about an active shooter at the clinic about 11:30 a.m. on Nov. 27, in an incident that stretched on for hours. Dear had brought more than a half-dozen guns to the facility, police said.
Officers who responded said they were immediately fired upon, and Dear told police that he knew he was shooting at them, according to police statements included in the new documents.
Five police officers were shot, suffering injuries to their hands, legs and arms, police said. One officer — Garrett Swasey, 44, of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs campus police — died from his injuries.
In addition to Swasey, two other people were killed: Ke’Arre Marcell Stewart, a 29-year-old Iraq War veteran and father of two; and Jennifer Markovsky, a 35-year-old mother of two who was at the clinic supporting a friend. A police affidavit said that Stewart was found in the front doorway of the Planned Parenthood building and that Markovsky was found in the parking lot.
Dear told police he initially had trouble finding the clinic. According to one of the police affidavits, Dear said that he had to stop several times to ask for directions as he tried to locate the clinic’s address. He told detectives that he eventually found a phone book with Planned Parenthood’s information in it and tore out the page.
Dear told authorities that he ultimately got the address for the clinic by calling Planned Parenthood.
When Dear was interviewed by police after the shooting, he told them he brought four SKS rifles with him inside the facility and had two handguns, a shotgun and rifle in his Toyota Tacoma outside. He told police that during the siege, he was wearing a “homemade ballistic vest … made of silver coins and duct tape,” one of the police statements said.
One of the people injured during the shooting told police that he had gone with his girlfriend and her friend to the clinic that day to end a pregnancy. When they got out of their car, a man at the passenger side told them they should not have come and began shooting, hitting all three of them, according to the man interviewed by police.
Another man at the clinic that day was with his girlfriend to get an ultrasound and other services when he went outside to call his bank after his credit card was rejected. He was then shot by Dear, one of the police statements said.
According to one of the affidavits, video surveillance showed Dear leaving the building and returning to his car twice after the shooting began. At one point, he was seen taking other items from the Tacoma and returning to the clinic. He was also seen going to the car and moving the propane tanks near another vehicle.
Tactical officers responding to the shooting said that they saw Dear shooting at the propane tanks during the standoff, the arrest report stated. He was eventually taken into custody, ending the siege.
“As Robert Lewis Dear was being placed into a patrol car, he yelled out a statement about the killing of babies,” the report states.
Dear told detectives that he had gone to the clinic “because he was upset with them performing abortions and the selling of baby parts,” according to the arrest report.
Planned Parenthood was at the center of a firestorm last year after a series of undercover videos were released that sought to show the group illegally profiting from selling tissue from aborted fetuses. Planned Parenthood has denied the allegations and a number of state investigations have found no evidence of wrongdoing on the group’s part. Earlier this year, a Houston grand jury investigating accusations of criminal misconduct against Planned Parenthood instead indicted the leader of a group that recorded the videos.
Investigators spoke with Dear’s girlfriend, who told them that Dear held antiabortion views. Police said Dear told detectives that he “thought very highly” of Paul Hill, a man who shot and killed a doctor who performed abortions — along with his body guard, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel — in 1994. A search of Dear’s email account showed that he had sent his son an email with the word “Hero” that included a link to a site about Hill, who was executed by Florida in 2003.
In his interviews with police, Dear said he had previously gone to a South Carolina abortion clinic and super-glued the locks shut to keep it closed for a day. He also told detectives he thinks President Obama is the “Antichrist” and, at various points, recited Bible verses.