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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Suspect arrested in George Tiller homicide

Tiller

UPDATED: Suspect is a 51-year-old man, and he's already being transported back to Wichita. More here from The Eagle.

JoCo deputies made the arrest, the Star reports:

The car was spotted shortly before 2 p.m. just south of Gardner by two Johnson County Sheriff’s deputies — Andy Lento and Tyson Kilbey. The sheriff’s office had suspected that the man would be coming back to his home on Interstate 35 and Kilbey and Lento waited for him.

As the car was spotted going northbound on the highway Lento and Kilbey followed and were quickly joined by three other sheriff’s patrol cars.

Lt. Mike Pfannenstiel of the sheriff’s office said officers pulled the car over just south of the main Gardner exit and got out with guns drawn. The man then got out of his car with his hands up.

“We took him down without incident,” Pfannenstiel said, adding that the man appeared to be driving the speed limit and made no attempt to elude the deputies.

Reaction here from Gateway Pundit, Daily Kos, Andrew Sullivan, The Other McCain, Evolution, Radioman's Kansas City.

From The Eagle:

A search is ongoing for the suspect in this morning's fatal shooting of George Tiller, the Wichita doctor who became a national lightning rod in the debate over abortion.

Tiller, 67, was shot just after 10 a.m. in the lobby of Reformation Lutheran Church at 7601 E. 13th, where he was a member of the congregation. Witnesses, a city official and a police source confirmed Tiller was the victim.

Police said they are looking for white male who was driving a 1990s powder blue Ford Taurus with Kansas license plate 225 BAB. The vehicle is registered to an owner in Merriam, which is in the Kansas City area.

Mike Hendricks says that Tiller's opponents are responsible for generating, not just disagreement, but blind hatred for the man:

I'm betting they'll find that person soon enough. As for the murderer's accomplices, we know them already. They include every one who has ever called Tiller's late term abortion clinic a murder mill.

Who ever called Tiller "Tiller the Killer."

The groups who spent decades fomenting hate toward a man who simply believed that he was serving a purpose by being one of the few doctors in the country performing late-term abortions.

Hate. Not heated opposition. Not strong disagreement. But blind hatred.

This isn't the first time that somebody shot Tiller. He suffered gunshot wounds back in 1993, but recovered, the New York Times notes. Meanwhile, the Pitch's Plog tracks down a statement from one of the best-known abortion opponents in Kansas, Operation Rescue. They denounce the homicide and the use of violence:

We are shocked at this morning's disturbing news that Mr. Tiller was gunned down. Operation Rescue has worked for years through peaceful, legal means, and through the proper channels to see him brought to justice. We denounce vigilantism and the cowardly act that took place this morning. We pray for Mr. Tiller's family that they will find comfort and healing that can only be found in Jesus Christ.

I'm going to be linking to reaction wherever I can find it, but as you could imagine, it's a huge story right now. Everyone from Huffington Post to the National Review has something to say.

Speaking of the Review, they have a Corner post here, denouncing the murder. And Kathryn Jean Lopez finds fault with a press release from Operation Rescue's founder. Here's the text, as passed along by Lopez:

Randall Terry, founder of Operation Rescue states, "George Tiller was a mass-murderer. We grieve for him that he did not have time to properly prepare his soul to face God. I am more concerned that the Obama Administration will use Tiller's killing to intimidate pro-lifers into surrendering our most effective rhetoric and actions. Abortion is still murder. And we still must call abortion by its proper name; murder.

Lopez's response here.

One thing to point out now: We aren't positive that Tiller was killed because of his work. There's a very high chance that he was, but the authorities haven't said one way or another. The blog Street Prophets, though, keeps a tally of other abortion doctors, staffers, who've been the targets of violence, though:

All told, according to statistics provided by the National Abortion Federation and not including this morning's murder, since 1977, there have been seven murders, 17 attempted murders, 41 bombings, 175 arsons, 96 attempted bombings or arsons, 390 invasions, 1400 cases of vandalism, 1993 cases of trespassing, 100 butyric acid attacks, 659 anthrax threats, 179 cases of assault and battery, 406 death threats, four kidnappings, 151 burglaries, and 525 cases of stalking specifically directed at clinics, their workers, or their volunteers in the US and Canada.

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