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Protesters Support Suspect In Abortion Clinic Shootings

MONDAY, JAN. 2, 1995

Extremists who said they support the killing of abortion doctors protested Sunday outside the jail holding the suspect in a two-day shooting spree at abortion clinics that left two women dead and five others injured.

John C. Salvi III, 22, was being held without bail and is scheduled to be arraigned here Tuesday morning. He was arrested Saturday by Norfolk police soon after more than 20 shots were fired into the back doors of a crowded office and shopping complex housing an abortion clinic. No one was injured in the attack.

The arrest three blocks away from the Hillcrest Clinic ended a nationwide manhunt that began Friday morning after a gunman dressed in black stalked into two abortion clinics in Brookline, Mass., killing the receptionists at each clinic. Four of the five people wounded in the attacks remained hospitalized Sunday.

The fifth was released late Saturday.

Authorities said they believe that Salvi, a New Hampshire beauty school student, was responsible for the shootings in both Brookline and Norfolk, and had already identified him as the suspect in the Brookline case before the Virginia attack.

Salvi, of Hampton, N.H., has been described by acquaintances as obsessed by religion and abortion. But anti-abortion leaders here said they did not know him and did not know if he had any ties to any antiabortion organization.

Norfolk police spokesman Larry Hill said officials do not believe that the suspect had any connections to Norfolk area anti-abortion groups. But he added that the authorities are still trying to determine why he came to the city after the attack in Brookline.

Still, several anti-abortion activists at the protest outside the city jail made it clear that they fully support Salvi’s actions and see his attacks as another in a series of cases of “justifiable homicide” of abortion doctors and providers.

Led by Don Spitz, head of ProLife of Virginia, a handful of protesters carried placards in support of Salvi and shouted encouragement for his actions.

“We are here to support you. We love you. Thank you,” Spitz shouted through a bullhorn as his group was ringed by police and reporters Sunday afternoon.

Some protesters carried pictures of aborted fetuses. One sign read “John Salvi - Prisoner of War.”

Tags: Violence

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