Tuesday, June 02, 2009

December 28, 1991

Long time Springfield and area residents who were stunned at the murder in Wichita over the weekend remember with shock and horror the domestic terrorism that occurred in Springfield, MO on a bleak December day nearly 18 years ago.

Springfield, MO has the distinction of being the site of the first abortion clinic shooting -- previously the focus had been on bombing and burning the clinics. That all changed that Saturday morning when a masked gunman entered the building and shot two people.

Paula Morehouse of KY3 News filed this report June 1 about what happened in Springfield and how itm might be connected to the Wichita murder. From her report:

In the shooting in Springfield, a man armed with a sawed-off shotgun entered a women's clinic and demanded to see the doctor. The staff led him out of the clinic. When the owner of the building approached him, he shot the landlord.

The gunman shot another employee, Claudia Gilmore, before fleeing but not before Gilmore managed to pull off the shooter's ski mask.
In 1994, Gilmore met with a reporter for the St. Petersburg Times.
Inside her tapestry cigarette case, Claudia Gilmore carries mementos from the two biggest days of her life: Her wedding ring and a lead ball.

The ring no longer fits, but the 27-year marriage it symbolizes is going strong. The lead ball came from a shotgun blast that paralyzed her from the chest down.

""Some people thought I should make a paperweight with it or frame it, but I like to have it with me,'' she said. ""I don't know why. But it did change my life.''

Gilmore, 44, had been a counselor at the Central Health Center For Women in Springfield.

On good work days, she talked a woman out of an abortion or held another woman's hand during the hardest decision of her life. Bad days would end in tears, crying over the sad parade of lives that passed through the clinic.

The worst day was Dec. 28, 1991. That day Gilmore became a victim of the first abortion clinic shooting in the country.

Because it was the first, police didn't investigate it as anti-abortion terrorism and it wasn't national news.

""Up to that time, bombing and arson was the big thing,'' Gilmore said. ""People didn't go one-on-one with doctors or workers."
Read more about American terrorism and watch this:

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