The man accused of opening fire at a a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado and killing three people said "no more baby parts" while he was being arrested, said a law enforcement official.
The utterance from suspect Robert Lewis Dear, 57, apparently referenced the organization's health services, which include abortion, and its role in delivering fetal tissue to researchers.
It could hint at a possible motive for the rampage on Friday that killed three and injured nine, including five police officers. Authorities have not discussed a motive for the attack at the Colorado Springs clinic, although the city’s mayor, John Suthers, said people can make “inferences from where it took place,” referring to the clinic.
Among those killed were two who were accompanying separate friends to the clinic: Jennifer Markovsky, 36, a mother of two, and Ke'Arre Stewart, 29, an Iraq War veteran and father of two. Also killed was Garrett Swasey, 44, a six-year veteran police officer for the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and a father of two.
"This unconscionable attack was not only a crime against the Colorado Springs community, but a crime against women receiving health care services at Planned Parenthood, law enforcement seeking to protect and serve, and other innocent people," Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement.
Dear, a South Carolina native who appears to have moved to Colorado last year, was taken into custody at the clinic after an hours-long standoff with police and jailed ahead of a Monday court appearance.
In a statement, Vicki Cowart, chief executive of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, said, "This is an appalling act of violence targeting access to health care and terrorizing skilled and dedicated health care professionals."
The shooting was believed to be the first deadly attack at an abortion provider in the United States in six years. Anti-abortion activists have repeatedly targeted the Colorado Springs center for protests.
Planned Parenthood was criticized this year after officials of the organization were secretly recorded by an anti-abortion group discussing how to obtain human tissue from aborted fetuses.
The videos triggered protests and have become an issue in the 2016 presidential election race, as conservatives in Congress seek to cut off Planned Parenthood's federal funding. Planned Parenthood has strongly denied doing anything illegal or unethical.
At least eight workers at clinics providing abortions have been killed since 1977, according to the National Abortion Federation. There have also been 17 attempted murders, 42 bombings and 186 arsons and thousands of other incidents, including vandalism, according to the foundation, a trade group for abortion providers.
The most recent murder was in 2009 when doctor George Tiller was shot to death at church in Wichita, Kansas.
At a vigil Saturday at All Souls Unitarian Church, Rev. Nori Rost called the gunman a "domestic terrorist." In the back of the room, someone held a sign that said: "Women's bodies are not battlefields. Neither is our town."
Vicki Cowart, the regional head of Planned Parenthood, drew a standing ovation when she walked to the pulpit. She promised to quickly reopen the clinic. "We will adapt. We will square our shoulders and we will go on," she said.
Cowart said the gunman "broke in" to the clinic Friday but didn't get past a locked door leading to the main part of the facility. She said there was no armed security when the shooting began.
In the parking lot of the two-story building, one man said the gunman shot at him as he pulled his car out, blasting two holes in his windshield. Inside, one worker ducked under a table and called her brother to tell him to take care of her kids if she was killed.
At one point, an officer whispered reports into his radio as he crept through the building. Others relayed information from surveillance cameras and victims in hiding. "We've got a report of a victim texting from just east of the lobby," someone said.