While officials have not disclosed a motive in Friday's shooting rampage at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic, the president of the healthcare provider's Rocky Mountains network decried "hateful rhetoric" that "breeds acts of violence."
Suspected gunman Robert Lewis Dear, 57, surrendered after a five-hour siege at the Colorado Springs clinic Friday and is being held without bond. Three people, including a police officer, were killed in the attack, NBC News reported.
Law enforcement officials have not disclosed what motivated the attack. A federal official told NBC News it appears Dear may be mentally disturbed.
But Vicki Cowart, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains, said in a statement Saturday that witness accounts indicate it was motivated by opposition to abortion. NBC News has not confirmed those accounts.
"We've seen an alarming increase in hateful rhetoric and smear campaigns against abortion providers and patients over the last few months," Cowart said. "That environment breeds acts of violence. Americans reject the hatred and vitriol that fueled this tragedy."
The shootings raised fears that other Planned Parenthood facilities could be targeted. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Saturday said state police have increased patrols at clinics statewide, and would meet with clinics Monday to discuss security measures.