The day after a gunman killed three people and shot nine others at a Colorado Planned Parenthood office, officials tell NBC News a motive remains unclear, but say the suspect talked about politics and abortion.
Robert Lewis Dear, a North Carolina native who was living in a trailer in Colorado, made statements to police Friday at the scene of the Colorado Springs clinic and in interviews that law enforcement sources described as rantings.
In one statement, made after the suspect was taken in for questioning, Dear said "no more baby parts" in reference to Planned Parenthood, two law enforcement sources with knowledge of the case told NBC News.
But the sources stressed that Dear said many things to law enforcement and the extent to which the "baby parts" remark played into any decision to target the Planned Parenthood office was not yet clear. He also mentioned President Barack Obama in statements.
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Friday morning's shooting at the Colorado Springs clinic resulted in a five-hour standoff between the suspect and police. One of the three killed was a police officer, Garrett Swasey, 44; the other two, described as civilians, will be identified pending autopsies, officials said.
U.S. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch on Saturday condemned the attack and said the federal government would provide any assistance it could.
"This unconscionable attack was not only a crime against the Colorado Springs community, but a crime against women receiving healthcare services at Planned Parenthood, law enforcement seeking to protect and serve, and other innocent people," Lynch said.
Law enforcement officials are looking into the background of the suspect. Police are interviewing people who knew Dear, including his girlfriend in Colorado. They are also examining his computer and any social media footprint.
Sources said there would have been nothing apparent in Dear's background — including a felony conviction or previous mental health issue — that would have disqualified him from buying an AK-47 style, high-powered rifle used in the shootings.
But a look at Dear's criminal past shows a history of other arrests, including ones for domestic violence against his then-wife in 1997, and being a "Peeping Tom" in 2002 after a neighbor in South Carolina reported him watching her, according to documents obtained by NBC News.
Other former neighbors told the AP that Dear hid food in the woods, sometimes lived in a cabin in North Carolina with no electricity or running water and said he made a living off selling prints of his uncle's paintings of Southern plantations and the Masters golf tournament.
James Russell, who lived near Dear's cabin told the AP that alleged gunman tended to avoid eye contact, but if he did communicate, he mostly rambled about things that didn’t make sense. "If you talked to him, nothing with him was very cognitive," Russell said.
In Colorado, people who encountered Dear also said he was fairly quiet. Jamie Heffelman, owner of the Highline Cafe in Hartsel, told the AP that Dear sometimes visited the post office to pick up his mail, but he didn’t say much.
"Nobody really knows him. He stays to himself," she said.
Pete Williams is an NBC News correspondent who covers the Justice Department and the Supreme Court, based in Washington.
Andrew Blankstein is an investigative reporter for NBC News. He covers the Western United States, specializing in crime, courts and homeland security.
The Associated Press, Elizabeth Chuck and Tracy Connor contributed.