Colorado clinic gunman thought FBI was tailing him: police

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 28, 2016 6:11 AM

By Keith Coffman

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Reuters) - The man accused of fatally shooting three people at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado last year thought - before he opened fire - that the FBI was tracking him, a police detective said in court on Thursday.

Robert Lewis Dear, 58, told police he believed 10 Federal Bureau of Investigation agents were following him the day of the shooting and that his neighbor and girlfriend worked for U.S. authorities, Colorado Springs Police Department detective Jerry Schiffelbein said under questioning by Dear's attorney.

Schiffelbein, who interviewed Dear after his arrest, said there was no indication the FBI ever followed or monitored Dear.

Testimony on Dear's mental state was presented at a hearing in Colorado Springs, site of the shootings, to determine whether he is mentally competent to fire his lawyers and represent himself, as he has sought to do.

Dear faces multiple charges of murder and attempted murder in connection with the Nov. 27 shooting, which left three people dead and nine others wounded during a five-hour siege.

El Paso County District Judge Gilbert Martinez in December ordered Dear, a South Carolina native, to undergo a competency examination after Dear said he wanted to dismiss his lawyers.

Thursday's proceedings were interrupted at times when Dear spoke up during testimony, at one point blurting out "I forgive her" in relation to his girlfriend.

Dear in previous court hearings has declared he was guilty and called himself a "warrior for the babies."

After Schiffelbein testified, state psychologist Jackie Grimmett took the stand and was questioned by an attorney for Dear about her conclusions from an interview with the accused killer.

"I do not believe Mr. Dear is competent to stand trial," Grimmett said.

If Martinez rules Dear mentally unfit, the case will be suspended while he undergoes treatment until he is restored to competency. It was not clear if the judge would make any ruling on Thursday.

Dear, who police said was armed with several rifles and opened fire in the parking lot of the clinic before storming the building, told detectives after his arrest that he was upset with Planned Parenthood for performing abortions and what he said was the "selling of body parts," the documents showed.

He has been held without bond at the El Paso County jail since he surrendered to end the attack.

(Editing by Bernard Orr nd Steve Orlofsky)