I’ve just been told by a friend and longtime Dispatches reader that Dr. George Tiller, a doctor from Kansas who has long been controversial for performing abortions, was shot and killed a short time ago during a church service where he was acting as an usher. I hope to be able to bring you more details shortly. Maybe all that nonsense about the Department of Homeland Security’s report on right wing extremists will fall silent now, but I doubt it.
Update: I’ve got permission to post some of this. My friend Gretchen, who comments here almost daily, is in Wichita visiting her parents and her parents were at the church when this shooting took place. This is what they reported:
I’m visiting my parents in Wichita, Kansas this weekend. They just came home from church and said that Dr. George Tiller, a member of their congregation, was shot in the head and killed. Dr. Tiller performs abortions here in Wichita, and has for many years. He was shot in both arms in 1993 during the so-called “Summer of Mercy” protests but has continued his practice in spite of being kicked out of his former church. He then joined Reformation, my parents’ church, who refused to kick him out despite protestors showing up every Sunday and screaming at them through bullhorns. The protestors got ahold of the church roll and have sent ugly postcards and letters to members of the congregation, including my parents.
Dr. Tiller was an usher today, and was going to get a cup of coffee in the lobby when a man came out of the sanctuary and shot him. At least one other usher witnessed it, but was afraid to tackle the man because he was afraid he might get shot as well. The man made it out of the church and into his car. He drove off, but another usher got his license plate number.
The “Summer of Mercy” was actually in 1991, but Tiller was shot in 1993 after being targeted for protests for years before that. They also report that the shooter had attended the church 3 or 4 times, so many people knew what he looked like. There’s a manhunt on for him now in the Wichita area.
Shall we start an office pool on how long it is before one of the Worldnutdaily columnists defends the shooting?