George Tiller, the Wichita doctor who became a national lightning rod in the debate over abortion, was shot to death this morning as he walked into church services.
Tiller, 67, was shot just after 10 a.m. at Reformation Lutheran Church at 7601 E. 13th, where he was a member of the congregation. Witnesses and a police source confirmed Tiller was the victim.
No information has been released about whether a suspect is in custody.
Homicide detectives and Sedgwick County District Attorney Nola Foulston have arrived at the church.
Members of the congregation who were inside the sanctuary at the time of the shooting were being kept inside the church by police, and those arriving were being ushered into the parking lot. Witnesses are being transported downtown for interviews and other members of the congregation are slowly being released from inside the sanctuary
The story gives the background on terrorist activities against the doctor in the past:
Tiller has long been a focal point of protest by abortion opponents because his clinic, Women’s Health Care Services at 5701 E. Kellogg, is one of the few in the country where late-term abortions are performed.
Protesters blockaded Tiller’s clinic during Operation Rescue’s “Summer of Mercy” protests during the summer of 1991, and Tiller was shot by Rachelle Shannon at his clinic in 1993.Tiller was wounded in both arms, and Shannon remains in prison for the shooting.
Tiller’s clinic was severely vandalized earlier this month. According to the Associated Press, his lawyer said wires to security cameras and outdoor lights were cut and that the vandals also cut through the roof and plugged the buildings’ downspouts. Rain poured through the roof and caused thousands of dollars of damage in the clinic. Tiller reportedly asked the FBI to investigate the incident.
A search of the web brings up his name on many hate sites, and his name has recently been linked to that of Kathleen Sebelius.
UPDATE: Police are holding Scott Roeder.
He (or someone using that name) recently posted this on the Operation Rescue site:
# Scott Roeder Says:
May 19th, 2007 at 4:34 pm
Bleass everyone for attending and praying in May to bring justice to Tiller and the closing of his death camp.
Sometime soon, would it be feasible to organize as many people as possible to attend Tillers church (inside, not just outside) to have much more of a presence and possibly ask questions of the Pastor, Deacons, Elders and members while there? Doesn’t seem like it would hurt anything but bring more attention to Tiller.
Local television stations have shown video of a post-it note in his car with the number of Operation Rescue and a lone rose which is their symbol.
Other busy bloggers have been tracking down information on Roeder and found:
According to a Democratic Underground thread, a 1997 Militia Watchdog report put out by the Anti-Defamation League lists the following activity for July 7:
“July 7, Kansas: Scott Roeder is sentenced to sixteen months in state prison for parole violations following a 1996 conviction for having bomb components in his car trunk. Roeder, a sovereign citizen and tax protester, violated his parole by not filing tax returns or providing his social security number to his employer.”
Link to ADL report
I searched the Kansas Department of Corrections website, and they have a listing for Scott Roeder, which matches the suspect description.
His full name is Scott Philip Roeder. He is 51 years old. Birthday is 25 February 1958. He is 6′-2″ tall and weighs 230 lbs. He was convicted in 1996 in Shawnee County, Kansas for Criminal Use of Explosives. scott roeder abortion.
According to records from the Kansas Secretary of State’s office, and available on the Kansas VoterView website, he is a registered Republican in Shawnee, Kansas. According to the voter records, he last voted in 1994.
A candlelight vigil is being held in Wichita tonight for Dr. Tiller:
A candlelight vigil has been scheduled for 8 p.m. today at Old Town Square to show support for George Tiller’s family and to oppose violence.
Dustin Deckard, 20, organized the vigil and is hoping it will be “a quiet show of support for Dr. Tiller and a moment to remember his medical and political triumphs.”
Statement from Attorney General Eric Holder …
“The murder of Doctor George Tiller is an abhorrent act of violence, and his family is in our thoughts and prayers at this tragic moment. Federal law enforcement is coordinating with local law enforcement officials in Kansas on the investigation of this crime, and I have directed the United States Marshals Service to offer protection to other appropriate people and facilities around the nation. The Department of Justice will work to bring the perpetrator of this crime to justice. As a precautionary measure, we will also take appropriate steps to help prevent any related acts of violence from occurring.”
Glad to hear our AG is sending protection for other doctors and clinics.
Will update again later
Rest in Peace.
I suggest that those of you who can make donations to Medical Students For Choice
or any other reproductive rights organization.
Some background on MSFC:
The United States and Canada face a dangerous shortage of trained abortion providers. In 2000, 87% of the counties in the United States had no provider (1). The “graying” of current providers (57% of whom are over the age of 50 (7), violence that targets physicians, and restrictive legislation threaten to drive these numbers even lower. In addition, medical schools are simply not addressing the topic; most physicians are graduating with little more than circumstantial knowledge of abortion.
Medical Students for Choice® stands up in the face of violent opposition, working to destigmatize abortion provision among medical students and residents, and to persuade medical schools and residency programs to include abortion as a part of the reproductive health services curriculum.
Today MSFC is an internationally known non-profit organization with a network of over 10,000 medical students and residents around the United States and Canada and a successful track record.
Read about MSFC’s progress last year in the MSFC 2007 Annual Report. Your support is vital to our continued success and mission goals – thank you!
Medical Students for Choice® (MSFC) is dedicated to ensuring that women receive the full range of reproductive healthcare choices. MSFC recognizes that one of the greatest obstacles to safe and legal abortion is the absence of trained providers. As medical students and residents, we work to make reproductive health care, including abortion, a part of standard medical education and residency training.