Crime

What We Know So Far About Co. Springs Planned Parenthood Killer Robert Dear


On Friday, November 27, a gunman identified as Robert Dear, 57, killed three people and injured an additional nine others during an attack at a Planned Parenthood branch in Colorado Springs.

In the days since then, we've learned the identities of the three people who died at Dear's hand: Garrett Swasey, a CU-Colorado Springs Police officer, Ke'Arre Stewart, an Iraq war veteran, and Jennifer Markovsky, a transplant from Hawaii and mother of two who was at the clinic to offer moral support to a friend who was shot in the hand amid the mayhem.

Still, most of the attention has been focused on Dear, whose history is being viewed through differing ideological lenses.

Many pro-choice supporters see his violent act as the predictable outcome of vicious rhetoric linked to anti-abortion organizations, while backers of the latter organizations are hyping up clues that suggest he was a pot smoker into kinky sex whose online voter information in Colorado lists him as a female.



KKTV in Colorado Springs has created an excellent timeline of events.

The first listing, from 11:49 a.m. on Friday, reads:
An officer has reportedly been shot in the hand, while police continue their search for a shooting suspect near the Planned Parenthood on Centennial.

Springs police are advising the public to stay away from the Centennial and Fillmore area.
Over the hours that followed, loads of misinformation was blasted out on social media, including multiple claims that the shooting started somewhere other than the Planned Parenthood offices.


These claims were debunked in a 4 p.m. news conference.

Meanwhile, massive evacuations took place at businesses close to the crime scene, including a King Soopers from which an estimated 150 people were taken to safety — approximately half the overall total.

Dear was finally rounded up shortly before 5 p.m., with word circulating afterward that he'd made a reference to "baby parts" while being taken into custody.

These words imply that he had targeted Planned Parenthood as a result of opposition to abortion, not to mention much disputed claims that the organization was selling off portions of aborted fetuses for medical use — an argument expressed in a statement from the clinic's director on Saturday, November 28.


Meanwhile, press outlets such as the New York Times portrayed Dear as a loner who lived in an RV in the small town of Hartsel, Colorado.

Dear was also revealed to have racked up a criminal record during his time in South Carolina.

Among the beefs against him was a 1997 domestic violence rap involving his former wife.

Here's a look at a screen capture from the report:


Media agencies also connected Dear to online posts on sites such as Cannabis.com and SexyAds.com.

About a decade ago, he's said to have posted the following messages on the former site:
“aids , hurricanes, we are in the end times."

“accept the LORD JESUS while you can.”

A FOOL HATH SAID IN HIS HEART THERE IS NO GOD,” adding: “PROVERBS.”
As for the latter, a posting reportedly found Dear looking for "casual sex" with someone interested in BDSM and marijuana-smoking.

Here's a screen capture of the item:


Additionally, conservative sites such as The Gateway Pundit tracked down Dear's voter-information data in Colorado.

The information is said to reveal that Dear's gender was listed as "female."

Could this have been a simple typographical error? Perhaps — but that didn't stop the Pundit from sharing the material under the headline "COURT RECORDS: Colorado Planned Parenthood Shooter NOT Republican, Identifies as Woman."

Here's a screen capture from the voter data.


Thus far, authorities have resisted the urge to comment on such assertions, or even to definitively confirm that Dear had gone after the Planned Parenthood facilities for political reasons.

What's clear, however, is that a tremendous tragedy has taken place in Colorado Springs, where recent incidents involving openly carried weapons resulted in injuries and loss of life.

Our sincere condolences to the friends, family and loved ones of all those who died or were injured in the attack.

Look below to see a full-size version of Dear's double mug shot, followed by three videos: a 7News item broadcast during the midst of the crisis, plus KKTV clips of Dear being arrested and a tribute to Stewart.



KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts