Posted on Sun, May. 31, 2009
George Tiller shot to death at Wichita church
BY STAN FINGER
The Wichita Eagle
George Tiller, the Wichita doctor who became a national lightning rod in the debate over abortion, was shot to death this morning as he walked into church services.
Tiller was shot just after 10 a.m. at Reformation Lutheran Church at 7601 E. 13th, where he was a member of the congregation. Witnesses and a police source confirmed Tiller was the victim.
No information has been released about whether a suspect is in custody.
Homicide detectives and Sedgwick County District Attorney Nola Foulston have arrived at the church.
Members of the congregation who were inside the sanctuary at the time of the shooting were being kept inside the church by police, and those arriving were being ushered into the parking lot. Witnesses are being transported downtown for interviews and other members of the congregation are slowly being released from inside the sanctuary.
Tiller has long been a focal point of protest by abortion opponents because his clinic, Women's Health Care Services at 5701 E. Kellogg, is one of the few in the country where late-term abortions are performed.
Protesters blockaded Tiller's clinic during Operation Rescue's "Summer of Mercy" protests during the summer of 1991, and Tiller was shot by Rachelle Shannon at his clinic in 1993.
Tiller was wounded in both arms, and Shannon remains in prison for the shooting.
Tiller's clinic was severely vandalized earlier this month. According to the Associated Press, his lawyer said wires to security cameras and outdoor lights were cut and that the vandals also cut through the roof and plugged the buildings' downspouts. Rain poured through the roof and caused thousands of dollars of damage in the clinic. Tiller reportedly asked the FBI to investigate the incident.
Tiller and his clinic have faced continuous threats and lawsuits. A Wichita jury ruled in March that he was not guilty of illegal abortion on 19 criminal charges he faced for allegedly violating a state law requiring an "independent" second physician's concurring opinion before performing later term abortions. Immediately following the ruling in this criminal case, the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts made public a similar complaint against Tiller that was originally filed in December 2008. Tiller's medical license could eventually be suspended or revoked by the board on the basis of the complaint.
Check Kansas.com for updates.
Contributing: Joe Rodriguez, Tim Potter and Marcia Werts or The Eagle.
***UPDATE: New York Times article here.
Also, Bill O'Reilly helped stoke anger against this guy, for ex.: http://www.billoreilly.com/blog?action=viewBlog&blogID=-115522592623938900
"O'Reilly's Target Shot Dead in Church" @ Andrew Sullivan's Daily DIsh blog