Robert Lewis Dear

From Real Life Villains Wiki

Robert Lewis Dear
Full Name: Robert Lewis Dear, Jr.
Origin: Charleston, South Carolina, United States of America
Occupation: Art Dealer
Skills: Knowledge of guns
Goals: Eliminate Planned Parenthood (failed)
Do "God's work"
Crimes: Mass murder
Type of Villain: Mentally Ill Terrorist

Robert Lewis Dear (April 16th, 1958 - ) is a domestic terrorist responsible for a mass shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado on November 27, 2015.

Dear attacked the clinic on November 27 armed with a semiautomatic rifle and hunting gear. He managed to kill three people and wound nine others before surrendering to the SWAT team.

According to his ex-wife, Dear had a history of drug abuse, violent outbursts and an obsession with Christian fundamentalism.

Dear is currently undergoing psychiatric evaluation as he wishes to represent himself in court after refusing to cooperate with his public defender. Subsequent court-ordered mental competency evaluations determined Dear to be delusional, and the judge presiding over the case ruled in May 2016 that Dear was incompetent to stand trial and ordered him indefinitely confined to a Colorado state mental hospital. In 2018, the court ruled that Dear remains incompetent to stand trial.


Early life

Robert Lewis Dear Jr. was born in Charleston, South Carolina and grew up in Louisville, Kentucky.

Dear spent most of his life in the Carolinas. He worked as an independent art dealer and lived in a succession of trailers and cabins before moving to Colorado in 2014. He was living in a trailer in Hartsel at the time of the shooting.

In May 1991, Dear was arrested and convicted in Charleston, for the unlawful carrying of a "long blade knife" and illegal possession of a loaded gun. A woman who was married to Dear from 1985 to 1993 told NBC News that Dear had targeted a Planned Parenthood clinic before, by putting glue on its locks, and had a history of violent behavior.

Religious views

In the court document for their 1993 divorce, his ex-wife said, "He claims to be a Christian and is extremely evangelistic, but does not follow the Bible in his actions. He says that as long as he believes he will be saved, he can do whatever he pleases. He is obsessed with the world coming to an end."

Dear wrote on a marijuana Internet forum: "Turn to JESUS or burn in hell [...] WAKE UP SINNERS U CANT SAVE YOURSELF U WILL DIE AN WORMS SHALL EAT YOUR FLESH, NOW YOUR SOUL IS GOING SOMEWHERE." He also posted notes on the same forum describing his own marijuana usage and stating that he was looking for women to "party" with.

The New York Times also reported that "[a] number of people who knew Mr. Dear said he was a staunch abortion opponent", that "[o]ne person who spoke with him extensively about his religious views said [that] Mr. Dear [...] had praised people who attacked abortion providers, saying they were doing 'God's work'", and that "[i]n 2009, [...] Mr. Dear described as 'heroes' members of the Army of God, a loosely organized group of anti-abortion extremists that has claimed responsibility for a number of killings and bombings."

Dear's former wife said he was deeply religious, but conflicted, and that he likely targeted the clinic because of its abortion-related activities.

The shooting

Law enforcement responded to a report of an active shooter inside the Planned Parenthood clinic at approximately 11:38 a.m. MST. Staff inside the clinic said they heard the gunfire outside and then moved people out of the waiting room and locked a security door.

As responding officers approached the building, Dear fired at them, hitting several and killing one. Police returned fire and a five-hour standoff then ensued. Initial reports described the gunman as being armed with a long gun and wearing hunting gear. Authorities later identified the weapon as a semi-automatic rifle. An eyewitness in the parking lot described a man with a "cold, stone face" as he began firing and pursued a crawling man through the parking lot and into the clinic. Another described a man with "holes in his chest" stagger into a nearby grocery store a few minutes later, saying he had been shot in the parking lot between Planned Parenthood and the store.

As many as twenty gunshots were fired within five minutes. Police swarmed the area, and nearby stores were put on lockdown.

During the standoff, officers who made it inside the clinic traded fire with Dear. Police SWAT teams crashed a Bear armored vehicle into the lobby, smashing two sets of doors and rescuing some of those trapped inside. Dear subsequently surrendered and was taken into custody at 4:52 p.m. Following the apprehension of the gunman, law enforcement began searching the building, as well as the Dear's car, for possible explosives. Multiple propane tanks were found near Dear's car, and authorities said they believed that he planned to fire on the tanks to trigger an explosion.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were called to assist in the investigation, and President Barack Obama was briefed on the incident. As a precautionary response to the shooting, additional law enforcement personnel were assigned to Planned Parenthood clinics in New York City and Denver.