The man accused of opening fire at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs made his first court appearance Monday. 57-year-old Robert Lewis Dear appeared before a judge in a video hearing. Dear is accused of killing a police officer and two civilians, an Iraq war veteran and a mother of two, who were accompanying separate friends to the clinic. The rampage touched off an hours-long standoff and shootout Friday that also left nine other people in the hospital.
Robert Lewis Dear also has ties to the Lowcountry, living in Walterboro until about 2007.
News 2 went to his old neighborhood and spoke to people who knew him, neighbors say they were surprised Dear would be involved in something like the Planned Parenthood shooting, but they all said he made them uneasy. Neighbors also told News 2 they didn’t talk to him much.
One neighbor, John Hood, says, “He didn’t associate with the neighbors very much, he just kind of kept to himself over there.”
Another, Douglas Moore, says, “This man was not a good neighbor, that was it. We did not associate with him, so I don’t know him.”
According to incident reports from the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office, Douglas Moore accused Dear of shooting his dog with a pellet gun back in 2003. Dear was arrested for animal cruelty.
Moore says, “That was in the past years ago.”
As we walked away, Moore told us Dear has “sealed his own fate.” Other neighbors called Dear “nuts”, “paranoid”, and say he seemed “off” and made them feel uncomfortable. Hood purchased some property from Dear and also says Dear was interested in buying his truck. He says he never expected Dear to become violent, but it was apparent he was anti-government.
Hood says, “I didn’t think he would go to that extreme or do something like that. He talked about the government quite a bit when we did talk when he was trying to buy my truck. He was trying to tell me I should redo my roof on my house in metal, you know metal roofing, and I said, why should I do that?. He said well, it keeps the spy satellites from looking through your roof. At that point I was like, okay, he might not all be here.”
Neighbors told News 2 the last time they heard from Dear was when he was moving away from Walterboro to North Carolina. While Dear lived in Walterboro he was arrested for animal cruelty, and for allegations of being a peeping tom. He was convicted of neither charge. Deputies also arrived at Dear’s home in 1997 on a domestic violence call from his wife at the time. However, she did not want to file any charges.