Q&A about suspect in deadly Planned Parenthood shooting

AP News
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Posted: Nov 29, 2015 1:41 PM
Q&A about suspect in deadly Planned Parenthood shooting

BLACK MOUNTAIN, N.C. (AP) — Robert Lewis Dear, the suspect in the deadly Planned Parenthood attack in Colorado Springs, frightened neighbors, had several run-ins with police and lived in different remote cabins and trailers in North and South Carolina and Colorado.

Here's what is known about the 57-year-old suspect:

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WHY DO POLICE BELIEVE HE OPENED FIRE?

A law enforcement official said Dear made a comment about "no more baby parts" after his arrest. That official could not elaborate and spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak publicly about the ongoing investigation.

Planned Parenthood said witnesses said the gunman was motivated by his opposition to abortion, but Dear's neighbors in North Carolina said they never heard him talk about it.

Colorado Springs Police Chief Peter Carey said investigators are still taking witness statements and that the investigation is complicated.

"There are a lot of moving parts," he said.

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HAS HE BEEN IN TROUBLE WITH THE LAW BEFORE?

Dear has had several run-ins with police. In 1997, his then-wife said he hit her and pushed her out a window after locking her out of their home. A neighbor accused him of peering into her home, but a Peeping Tom charge against Dear was dismissed a month after it was filed.

Police also were called to his home after his neighbor's dog was shot with a pellet gun.

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WHERE IS HE FROM?

Dear lived for years in a cabin that had no electricity or running water in the North Carolina mountains, about 15 miles west of Asheville. There were "no trespassing" signs at the property and at a trailer in the nearby town of Swannanoa.

He had also lived in a double-wide trailer in South Carolina, and public records show he purchased land about a year ago in the town of Hartsel, Colorado, about 60 miles west of Colorado Springs.

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WHAT DO PEOPLE WHO KNOW HIM THINK ABOUT HIM?

Those who know him say Dear liked to keep to himself and didn't fit in.

"He was one who didn't hang around. He didn't like to sit around having conversation with anybody," said Jeff Owens, whose sister had been married to Dear and had a son with him.

Owens, who lives in Georgetown County in South Carolina, said Dear "had a big bark" and had been rough on his sister. He wouldn't elaborate.

Neighbors who live near Dear's former South Carolina home say he hid food in the woods as if he was a survivalist and said he lived off selling prints of his uncle's paintings of Southern plantations and the Masters golf tournament.

In Hartsel, a neighbor said Dear once gave him a pamphlet opposing President Barack Obama.

"He didn't talk about them or anything. He just said, 'Look them over when you get a chance,'" Zigmond Post said.

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Collins reported from Walterboro, South Carolina. Associated Press reporters Sadie Gurman in Hartsel, Colorado, and Brian Melley in Los Angeles contributed to this report.