The latest in a growing string of violence against pro-lifers, a Missouri man is facing charges for allegedly pointing a rifle at a pro-life advocate outside an abortion facility in Granite City.
Allegedly, Kevin M. Brooks, 27, of Springfield, Missouri, pointed the gun at pro-life sidewalk counselor John Ryan on Saturday as Ryan approached Brooks’ vehicle to offer information about alternatives to abortion, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
According to police, Brooks is charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, a felony with a penalty of up to three years in prison. On Monday, he was being held in the Madison County Jail, the report states.
Ryan said he often volunteers as a sidewalk counselor outside the Hope Clinic for Women, an abortion facility that aborts unborn babies up to 24 weeks in Granite City.
On Saturday, Ryan said he and several other pro-lifers were doing outreach outside the abortion facility when a vehicle approached with a man and woman inside. He said he walked up to Brooks’ vehicle holding a baby onesie and business cards when Brooks lifted the rifle and pointed it at him.
“He must have had it in his lap and just lifted it,” Ryan said. “This wasn’t just a guy who had a rifle, he pointed it at me.”
Here’s more from the report:
“Is there any reason you guys can’t take a look at this?” Ryan said he asked the man. Ryan said the had a smirk on his face and pointed the rifle at Ryan.
“I see the barrel of the rifle pointing at me and I was in the middle of taking another step when I just stopped and said, ‘OK,’ and I backed up a few steps, walked back across the street and called the cops.”
Police said they found the rifle, a Hi-Point model 995, “loaded, uncased and immediately accessible” in Brooks’ vehicle and arrested him on the scene. They said no shots were fired and no one was injured.
Last week, LifeNews reported several pro-life leaders in Congress also received death threats, including U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise who was wounded in a 2017 shooting when a left-wing activist opened fire on Republicans during a Congressional baseball practice. Last week, police arrested a New York man suspected of making the threats against Scalise and U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state, Fox News reports.
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Leading pro-life Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey also received a death threat this month, allegedly from a Democrat in his state. In June, a Florida man who volunteers at Planned Parenthood also was arrested after he allegedly threatened to kill pro-life U.S. Rep. Brian Mast’s children.
In 2017, a Texas state lawmaker and his family also were put under police protection after he received multiple death threats related to a bill he introduced to ban abortions.
These threats and violence have not been limited to high profile pro-life leaders. Volunteer sidewalk counselors, students and other grassroots pro-life advocates also have been targeted.
In two separate incidents in 2017, men allegedly threatened to kill pro-life advocates outside abortion facilities in California and Florida. And violent threats against a California pro-life leader prompted him to cancel a pro-life rally.
Then, in December, a 15-year-old girl was punched in the face and knocked to the ground outside a Planned Parenthood abortion facility in Roanoke, Virginia. The assault was captured on video.
Students for Life has documented more than 40 incidents of vandalism alone in the past five years against its pro-life students groups. An interactive map displays the places where its clubs have been victims of vandalism.