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What We Know About The Alleged Planned Parenthood Shooter

As Colorado Springs held vigils for those killed during a shooting rampage at a Planned Parenthood clinic, we are learning more about the alleged gunman and his possible motive.

Police say Robert Lewis Dear, 57, killed three people and left nine wounded.

A search of public records finds that Dear had several run-ins with the law. The records show nine criminal filings under his name: Two "personal intrusion" — or peeping Tom or eavesdropping — charges that were later dropped and he was acquitted of two animal cruelty charges.

With that, here's what other news organizations have turned up about Dear:

-- Dear 'Preferred to Be Left Alone'

The New York Times visited Dear's home in Hartsel, Colorado. Dear lived in a white trailer "with a forest-green four-wheeler by the front door and a modest black cross painted on one end." One neighbor told the paper that Dear "preferred to be left alone."

The paper also visited with his ex-wife, Pamela Ross, who said Dear showed flashes of anger, even against her. The paper reports:

"He was an independent art dealer with a degree in public administration from a Midwestern college, she said, who struck deals with artists, mostly Southern ones, who painted Charleston, S.C., street scenes, Old South plantation tableaus, magnolias and pictures of the Citadel campus. He tended to buy the rights to paintings, commission 1,000 or so prints, then market and sell the prints and keep the proceeds.

"He was born in Charleston and grew up in Louisville, Ky., but he had strong ties to South Carolina. His father was a graduate of the Citadel, Charleston's famous public military college. Robert Lewis Dear Sr., the father, died in 2004. He was a Navy veteran who served in World War II and worked 40 years for the Liggett & Myers Tobacco Company. ...

"He was generally conservative, but not obsessed with politics. He kept guns around the house for personal protection and hunting, and he taught their son to hunt doves, as many Southern fathers do. He believed that abortion was wrong, but it was not something that he spoke about much. 'It was never really a topic of discussion,' she said."

-- An Interview With Police

Multiple news outlets, includingThe New York Times, NBC News, The Wall Street Journal and CNN, are citing unnamed law enforcement officials saying Dear gave a rambling interview to investigators after the shootings in which he mentioned "baby parts."

NBC News reports:

"In one statement, made after the suspect was taken in for questioning, Dear said 'no more baby parts' in reference to Planned Parenthood, two law enforcement sources with knowledge of the case told NBC News.

"But the sources stressed that Dear said many things to law enforcement and the extent to which the 'baby parts' remark played into any decision to target the Planned Parenthood office was not yet clear. He also mentioned President Barack Obama in statements."

-- A Person 'You Had To Watch Out For':

The Washington Post visited Dear's other home in Black Mountain, N.C., where Dear lived in a yellow shack without indoor plumbing.

A small shack with no electricity or running water where shooting suspect Robert Lewis Dear spent time is about a half-mile up a twisty dirt road near Black Mountain, N.C.
Michael Biesecker / AP
A small shack with no electricity or running water where shooting suspect Robert Lewis Dear spent time is about a half-mile up a twisty dirt road near Black Mountain, N.C.

One of his Anderson Acres neighbors told the paper that Dear was the kind of person "you had to watch out for."

"He was a very weird individual," the neighbor said. "It's hard to explain, but he had a weird look in his eye most of the time."

The paper reports:

" ... Neighbors said they recognized Dear from television news coverage of Friday's shootings, in which police said he killed three people, including a police officer, and wounded nine others. They said he looked more beaten down than the last time they had seen him, and that his beard was new — but that he was the same aloof, angry man they remembered.

" 'He complained about everything,' said another neighbor who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity, saying that he feared for his security. 'He said he worked with the government, and everybody was out to get him, and he knew the secrets of the U.S.A. He said, "Nobody touch me, because I've got enough information to put the whole U.S. of A in danger." It was very crazy.' "

Dear is scheduled to make his first court appearance on Monday. He is being held without bond at the El Paso County criminal justice center.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.