BLACK MOUNTAIN, N.C. (AP) – Robert Lewis Dear, the suspect in the deadly Planned Parenthood attack in Colorado Springs, frightened neighbors, had several run-ins with police and lived in different remote cabins and trailers in North and South Carolina and Colorado.
Police have not disclosed a motive for the attack, but here is what we know about the 57-year-old suspect:
WHY DO POLICE BELIEVE HE OPENED FIRE?
It’s still unclear, but Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said people can make inferences about the motive “from where it took place.” Authorities have said little else about a motive. Dear’s North Carolina neighbors said they never heard him talk about abortion.
HAS HE BEEN IN TROUBLE WITH THE LAW BEFORE?
Dear has had several run-ins with police. In 1997, his then-wife said he hit her and pushed her out a window after locking her out of their home. A neighbor accused him of peering into her home, but a Peeping Tom charge against Dear was dismissed a month after it was filed. Police were also called to his home after his neighbor’s dog was shot with a pellet gun.
WHERE WAS HE FROM?
Dear lived for years in a cabin that had no electricity or running water in the North Carolina mountains, about 15 miles west of Asheville. There were “no trespassing” signs at the property and at a trailer in the nearby town of Swannanoa. He had also lived in a double-wide trailer in South Carolina.
WHAT DO PEOPLE WHO KNOW HIM THINK ABOUT HIM?
His North Carolina neighbors said the only companion they saw with Dear was a mangy dog that looked to be in such bad shape they called animal control because they worried he was beating it.
Dear kept mostly to himself, according to the neighbors, most of whom spoke on condition of anonymity because they feared Dear would retaliate. When he did talk, he rambled about topics that didn’t make sense together and he tended to avoid eye contact, neighbor James Russell said.
His South Carolina neighbors say he hid food in the woods and liked to skinny dip.
John Hood said Dear once recommended that Hood put a metal roof on his home so the U.S. government couldn’t spy on him.
Dear made money by selling prints of his uncle Bill Stroud’s paintings, Hood said.
WHERE WAS HE LIVING RIGHT BEFORE THE ATTACK?
Dear had an address in the town of Hartsel, about 60 miles west of Colorado Springs. Jamie Heffelman, owner of the Highline Cafe in Hartsel, said residents would occasionally see Dear at the post office to get his mail but he never said much. “Nobody really knows him, he stays to himself,” she said.
– By MICHAEL BIESECKER, Associated Press
AP writer Sadie Gurman in Hartsel, Colorado, contributed to this report.
(© Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)