The Kansas City man charged with assassinating abortion doctor George Tiller in his church a week ago warned Sunday that more violence is coming.
“I know there are many other similar events planned around the country as long as abortion remains legal,” Scott Roeder said in one of two phone calls to the Associated Press from prison.
He also complained about the “deplorable conditions in solitary,” worried about catching pneumonia because his cell was cold and said he needed his sleep apnea machine.
Tiller, 67, one of only three American doctors who performed late abortions on women with deformed fetuses, was gunned down inside his Wichita church as he chatted with a fellow usher about taking his grandkids to Disney World.
He had been targeted for years by anti-abortion protesters and demonized as “Tiller the baby killer” by conservative TV pundits. He often wore body armor – but not to church.
Roeder, 51, a mentally ill, unemployed anti-abortion activist from Kansas City, Mo., was charged with first-degree murder.
On Friday, the Justice Department opened an investigation into whether Roeder, who had enough money to stalk Tiller for years despite having little or no income, had help from accomplices.
Anyone who played a role in the killing will be prosecuted “to the full extent of federal law,” said Loretta King, head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division.
A funeral was held Saturday for Tiller at Wichita’s large Methodist church to accommodate crowds that would not fit in his own, the Reformation Lutheran Church.
The funeral was protected by 50 American Legion Riders who roared up on motorcycles and formed a shield around Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita to honor Tiller’s Navy service.
Many wept when Tiller’s wife of 40 years, Jeanne, stood before the gathering and sang “The Lord’s Prayer.”
Dr. Warren Hern, a Colorado late-term abortion provider who was Tiller’s friend and who fears he may be the next target, was one of the pallbearers.
This morning, worshippers who watched Tiller die filled the pews at Reformation Lutheran to pray for him.
A few minutes after 10 a.m., exactly one week after Tiller was shot, the congregation began to pray: “Oh God, we are consumed by grief for what we have witnessed in our community. Come to our aid, walk with us, hold us, strengthen us and give us courage for the days ahead.”
Protesters from Topeka’s Westboro Baptist Church, known for picketing the funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq, held signs and shouted outside the sanctuary.
Don’t think for a second that this guy isn’t a terrorist, thankfully, no one was hurt; but that doesn’t change the nature of this guy’s crime.
On the 36th anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion, a man smashed his SUV into the entrance of the Planned Parenthood office in St. Paul this morning.
Although staff members have gotten used to protests, particularly on the anniversary of the ruling, “we certainly don’t expect this sort of thing,” said Sarah Stoesz, the president and chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. “”It’s never happened before and we don’t expect it to happen again.”
The 32-year-old man was arrested and is expected toÂ be charged Friday on suspicion of aggravated assault, said police spokesman Peter Panos.
“We think it’s intentional because of Roe vs. Wade,” Panos said. “He’s not saying much. He was praying or chanting when the officers arrived.”
Panos also said the incident was unusual. “Usually we have some demonstrations there on this day, but someone doing actual damage is very, very rare,” he said.
Several employees were in the building at the time, said Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Kathi Di Nicola. She said the SUV hit the front door of the clinic two or three times, damaging the clinic’s front door and surrounding stonework.
When Di Nicola arrived at the clinic, she said the man had gotten out of the SUV and was pacing around it, holding a crucifix and chanting. “He was agitated and he was saying, ‘shut down this Auschwitz,’ ” she said.
About 7:40 a.m., the man drove his truck onto the sidewalk in front of the office and rammed into the front door of the office on Ford Parkway, Panos said.
“The damage ended up being minor and things were cleaned up while we diverted patients to another entrance,” Stoesz said. “It shook people up a little bit, but the staff responded in a very calm way.”