A federal grand jury has indicted Robert L. Dear, charging him with committing a mass shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in 2015 that resulted in three deaths, including a police officer.
The grand jury indicted Dear on 68 counts, including 65 counts of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act and 3 counts of murder, according to a Department of Justice announcement released on Monday.
The DOJ went on to explain that a decision had not yet been reached on whether they would pursue the death penalty for Dear.
“The department will follow the usual rigorous protocol to thoroughly consider all factual and legal issues relevant to that decision, which will necessarily involve consultation with the counsel for the defendant,” stated the DOJ.
“In addition, consultation with the victims’ families is an important part of this decision making process and no decision will be made before conferring with them.”
On Nov. 27, 2015, Dear came to a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado with several firearms and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.
He opened fire outside of the clinic and then entered the facility to shoot others, eventually surrendering to authorities after a six-hour shootout. Three people were killed and eight were wounded, including four police officers.
Dear, a resident of North Carolina, was reportedly inspired to commit the mass shooting in response to the release of undercover videos by the pro-life group Center for Medical Progress showing Planned Parenthood officials engaging in the sale of aborted baby body parts.
Dear’s ex-wife, Barbara Mescher Michaux, wrote in an affidavit that her husband was "extremely evangelistic" and obsessed with "the end of the world."
“He claims to be a Christian and is extremely evangelistic, but he does not follow the Bible in his actions,” she wrote, as reported by CBS News in December 2015.
“He says as long as he believes he will be saved, he can do whatever he pleases. He is obsessed with the world coming to an end.”
Some pro-choice individuals, among them Planned Parenthood Executive Vice President Dawn Laguens, blamed the mass shooting on anti-abortion political rhetoric.
“It is offensive and outrageous that some politicians are now claiming this tragedy has nothing to do with the toxic environment they helped create,” stated Laguens at the time.
Pro-life activists, among them former Family Research Council president Ken Connor, denounced the attempted link between Dear’s actions and pro-life rhetoric.
“Of course, the actions of Mr. Dear should be condemned unreservedly, as should all acts of violence perpetrated by activists who think that the righteousness of their cause justifies cold-blooded murder,” wrote Connors in a column for The Christian Post in 2015.
“No one is responsible for Robert Dear's actions but Dear himself, and no movement can be expected to take responsibility for whatever kind of actions a deranged individual might decide to carry out in its name.”