Friday, June 5, 2009
DR. GEORGE TILLER
By Robert Barnes
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, June 1, 2009
Dr. George Tiller was killed while attending Church services May 31, 2009. Dr. Tiller, the nation's most prominent provider of controversial late-term abortions, was shot in the lobby of his Lutheran church in Wichita, where he was serving as an usher.
Hours later, police stopped and apprehended Scott Roeder, 51, of Merriam, Kan., a Kansas City suburb, on Interstate 35. He had been driving a car that had been identified by churchgoers as leaving the scene of the crime. Authorities were returning him last night to Wichita, and he had not been questioned or charged with a crime.
Wichita Deputy Police Chief Tom Stolz said all indications were that the assailant acted alone. The FBI and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation are trying to determine whether others were part of the attack and whether the suspect had any connection to antiabortion groups.
Tiller, 67, had performed abortions since the 1970s. He ran the Women's Health Care Services clinic, one of three in the nation to perform abortions after the point when a fetus is considered able to survive outside the womb.
The clinic had been the scene of frequent abortion protests -- some peaceful, some not -- and had served as the national focal point of antiabortion activists during Operation Rescue's "Summer of Mercy" protests in 1991.
Tiller was shot in both arms in 1993 by abortion protester Rachelle "Shelley" Shannon, who remains in prison for the crime. Tiller received protection from federal marshals for a time. In recent years, he declined interviews and public appearances out of fear for his safety.
He had also been a frequent subject of attempted prosecution in a state that has become one of the battlegrounds of attempts to restrict abortion. In March, the physician was acquitted of criminal charges that he performed late-term abortions without properly obtaining a second medical opinion.
Please comment on this story.
What are your views on this very "Hot Button" issue