Early reports are coming in that a “well-known anti-abortion activist” was shot and killed in Michigan this morning, and that another man was shot a few miles away. The police say the two shooting are related and that a suspect is in custody but aren’t releasing any more information:
A well-known anti-abortion activist was shot multiple times and killed Friday morning in front of a Michigan high school and another man was shot and killed just miles away in what police are investigating as related incidents.
Michigan State Police have taken a suspect into custody but have not released the name of the victim, the Flint Journal reported. The school was placed on immediate lockdown, though no students were injured or involved in the shooting, Ossowo Hish School officials told the paper.
School officials say the shooting took place outside of school grounds around 7:30 a.m., when most students were already inside the building for classes. The school, located 20 miles west of Flint, is now allowing students to leave with a parental escort, WLNS News reported.
The suspect was picked up at his home at about 8:15 a.m. and is now being investigated in connection with a second killing that occurred a few miles away from the school, WNEM News reported.
Anti-abortion have already scheduled a press conference before anything is even known about the situation:
The Washington DC based Christian Defense Coalition will hold a news conference today, Friday, September 11, at 2:30 PM, in front of the US Department of Justice, on Pennsylvania Avenue.
News Conference Details—
When: Friday, September 11, at 2:30 PM
Where: In front of the U.S. Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania, Washington, DC
Who: Christian Defense Coalition director Rev. Patrick Mahoney, and other pro-life leaders
Why: To Comment on Murder of a pro-life activist in Michigan this morning
“Pro-life leaders have received numerous death threats. We call upon the Obama Administration and the Department of Justice to put the manpower and attention they have given in the past to the murder of abortion providers toward solving this case. If breaking news reports are accurate, this was a long time friend of mine.” — Rev. Patrick Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition
Priests for Life says it was a man named James Pouillon:
Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, issued the following statement today upon learning of the shooting of longtime pro-life activist James Pouillon in front of a high school in Owosso, Michigan.
“We do not know the motive yet. But this is a time to console one another, and to renew our determination to organize peaceful protests. It is no time for fear. And I am waiting to hear the abortion advocates condemn this killing.”
UPDATE: The Flint Journal confirms his identity:
An anti-abortion activist gunned down Friday morning in front of Owosso High School has been identified as James Lawrence Pouillon, 63, of Owosso.
Pouillon was a longtime abortion protester, known for his highly vocal and visible public demonstrations around the community and even outside the state.
Longtime friend and fellow activist Judy Climer, president of Flint Right to Life, described Pouillon as “just a nice, elderly gentleman who was disabled, used an oxygen tank and wore leg braces.”
Climer said Pouillon had a regular weekly schedule of visits to abortion clinics in Flint and Saginaw, where he would park across the street and pray when abortions were allegedly being conducted.
“I knew him very well. He told me one time God put in his heart a passion for the little babies that have the right to be born and they were being denied that right,” said Climer, who said Pouillon often stopped at her office for coffee breaks as he drove from one location to another to demonstrate.
“He even told me once he’d be willing to die for that belief. That’s what I hear him saying right now.”
Climer said Pouillon called her last week and told her he planned to be in Flint later today, parked across the street from the Feminine Health Care Center, 2032 S. Saginaw Street.
“He always comes. He would even go up to Saginaw at 7:30 a.m. and pray, then come here to Flint at noon,” said Climer. “This was a passion he’s had for 20 years, to just pray that abortion would come to an end and that women would see the truth that abortion is murder.”
Pouillon was arrested in 1994 for disorderly conduct, in a case where he allegedly harassed parents as they took their children to day care at First Congregational Church in Owosso.
In a 2003 Flint Journal report of the case, Pouillon said that he targeted the church because it had hosted a 25th anniversary celebration for the local Planned Parenthood office.
At the time, Pouillon said he urged parents escorting children, “Don’t take your kids to that church. They kill babies in there. They support abortion.”
The 1994 police report indicated Pouillon was screaming at pre-school children and their mothers but Pouillon said he and a church member were shouting only because they stood hundreds of feet apart.
The state Supreme Court ordered the state Court of Appeals to rule on the case, which overturned Pouillon’s conviction in 2003.
In another case, the U.S. Court of Appeals reversed a ruling that ordered the city of Owosso to reimburse Pouillon for legal costs from another 1994 incident in which Pouillon was cleared of charges of resisting a police officer. In that incident, Pouillon was jailed after failing to heed a police demand that he stop demonstrating on an outdoor landing near City Hall.