by Paul Nowak
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
August 20, 2004
Lufkin, TX (LifeNews.com) — At least four gunshots were fired into a Planned Parenthood facility in Lufkin, Texas between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. Since the business was empty, no one was injured in the incident.
Lt. Greg Denman of the Lufkin Police Department told the Lufkin Daily News that there had been a rash of similar mischief around town, but the number of shots targeting the abortion referrer may indicate that it was not a random act of violence.
"Based on the amount of rounds that were fired, it appears the suspect could have been targeting the clinic," Denman said. "Again, that’s still up for conjecture at this point. Right now, we’re treating it as a case of criminal mischief."
One bullet struck the employee door, another struck a computer, and a third passed through several walls. There were three bullet holes in the front window. One bullet has been recovered, but it was so deformed its caliber could not be determined.
Michelle Green, the Lufkin Planned Parenthood director of community services, said that despite the shooting the staff was still providing "uninterrupted access to the reproductive health services” provided. The Lufkin facility does not perform surgical abortions on-site but does provide abortion referrals.
Green would not speculate on who may have perpetrated the violence.
"Until we know more, it would be inappropriate to speculate on why this incident occurred or who may have been involved," Green said. "We are confident that the Lufkin Police Department will solve this crime, and that justice will be served."
Local pro-life leaders have unanimously decried the violent act.
"Lufkin for Life condemns this violence in the strongest possible terms," Robert Dickens, the group’s director, said in a statement. "Such acts are contrary to the peaceful objectives of our organization. We will cooperate with law enforcement in every way possible and look forward to seeing those responsible for this act of violence brought to justice."
The Brazos Valley Coalition for Life, which aided the Lufkin group when was it formed but is no longer affiliated, also issued a statement.
"The Coalition for Life strongly condemns this action, and will cooperate with local law enforcement officials in an effort to catch and prosecute the perpetrator of this violent act," said David Bereit, executive director of the Coalition. "It is deeply regrettable that any individual would resort to this sort of destructive tactic.”
Bereit added that Coalition volunteers have been asked to sign a "statement of peace.”
Meanwhile, statewide pro-life groups were also quick to repudiate the shooting.
"Perpetrators of such terrible acts are usually not associated with any pro-life group, and we urge these fanatics turn themselves into authorities," Elizabeth Graham, executive director of Texas Right to Life told LifeNews.com.
Joe Pojman, Ph.D., the director of the Texas Alliance for Life, likewise denounced the violence, calling it "inexcusable.”
"The violence that occurred at the Planned Parenthood facility in Lufkin is inexcusable and cannot be justified," explained Pojman. "Thankfully no one was hurt at the time of the shootings. We trust the police will apprehend the perpetrator and prosecute this person to the fullest extent of the law."