US & Canada

Planned Parenthood shooting: Who are the victims?

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Media captionRobert Dear will be charged with first-degree murder

Three victims in the shooting at a family planning clinic in Colorado Springs have been identified and the alleged gunman has appeared in court.

Robert Lewis Dear is accused of killing a policeman, an Iraq war veteran and a mother, who were escorting friends to the Planned Parenthood clinic.

Nine other people were taken to hospital after the hours-long stand-off.

The dead policeman was named as Garrett Swasey, 44, a married father of two.

Mr Swasey was called to assist during the shootout and died at the scene.

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Image caption Garrett Swasey, who was killed, was a campus police officer for the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (UCCS)

He was a co-pastor at a church in Colorado Springs and was a figure skater before he became a police officer.

The two civilian victims have been identified as 29-year-old Ke'Arre Stewart and 36-year-old Jennifer Markovsky.

Stewart, a father of two young daughters, was accompanying someone to the clinic when he was killed, his friend Amburh Butler told the Associated Press news agency.

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Image caption Stewart was an Army veteran who had been deployed to Iraq

He was deployed to Iraq and had been stationed at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs.

"He went someplace where people expect to die, only to come back ... and be killed," Ms Butler said.

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Image caption Markovsky was taking a friend to the clinic

Markovsky, a mother of two, was accompanying a friend to the clinic when she was killed. Her father told the AP she was "kind-hearted and lovable".

At the scene: The BBC's James Cook

The appearance of Robert Lewis Dear on the courtroom television was startling.

His arms were bare and his hands cuffed as he stood beside his lawyer, speaking only briefly to confirm he understood the proceedings and the initial charge of murder.

Outside in the crisp air, District Attorney Dan May appeared before the cameras but was unable, for legal reasons, to shed much light on the case.

Mr May was pressed on whether he would seek the death penalty for Mr Dear, a question he said he was unable to answer at this stage.

This case is tragic but it is also controversial, having provoked debate across the US, not least among candidates for the presidency, about Planned Parenthood's controversial role in providing foetal tissue for research.

This was not the first attack on one of its clinics and the group says poisonous political rhetoric is inciting domestic terrorism, a charge rejected by its critics.

The alleged 57-year-old gunman appeared in court on Monday and was told he would be charged with first degree murder in the killings.

He has been held at the El Paso County Jail since surrendering to police on Friday.

Appearing harried, he wore a padded white vest and looked down during the hearing, in which victims' families were present, and did not ask any questions.

He is expected to be formally charged on 9 December.

No motive has been named yet in the shooting, but law enforcement has said he told authorities "no more baby parts" before he was arrested.

Planned Parenthood has been the focus of protests recently after an anti-abortion organisation secretly recorded one of its staff discussing how to obtain aborted foetal tissue for medical research.

Anti-abortion advocates say this proves Planned Parenthood is selling foetal parts for profit - which is illegal - but this is disputed by the organisation

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