Abortion doctor Tiller killed at church
Sunday 31 May 2009
Dr George Tiller, a prominent advocate for abortion rights who was wounded by a protester more than a decade ago, was shot and killed Sunday at his church in Wichita, a city official said.
A City Hall official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the case said that the 67-year-old doctor was killed Sunday morning at Reformation Lutheran Church.
Police spokesman Gordon Bassham would not confirm the victim's identity pending notification of relatives. He said the shooting occurred at 10:03 a.m. and the gunman fled the scene by car.
Bassham said no suspects were in custody. He said it is not clear whether one or more suspects were involved.
Captain Brent Allred said police were looking for a gunman who fled in a 1993 light blue Ford Taurus registered in Merriam, Kansas.
Anti-abortion group Operation Rescue issued a statement denouncing the shooting.
Tiller has been among the few US physicians performing late-term abortions. His clinic has repeatedly been the site of protests for about two decades and he was shot and wounded in both arms by a protester in 1993.
He remained prominent in the news in recent years, in part because of an investigation begun by former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline, an abortion opponent.
Prosecutors had alleged that Tiller had gotten second opinions from a doctor who was essentially an employee of his, not independent as state law requires, but a jury in March acquitted him of all 19 misdemeanor counts against him.
Abortion opponents also questioned then-Governor Kathleen Sebelius' ties to Tiller before the Senate confirmed her this year as US Health and Human Services Secretary. Tiller donated thousands of dollars to Sebelius' campaigns over the years.
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