Colorado shooting suspect was former county resident | Crime | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | December 2, 2015 3:36 pm
Last Updated: December 7, 2015 at 4:24 pm
The man in custody in connection with a Friday shooting spree at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic spent approximately a decade as a resident of Colleton County.
According to a collection of 13 Colleton County Sheriff’s Office incident reports, Robert Lewis Dear lived in the county from at least 1997 until 2006.
Dear, 57, currently of Hartsel, Colo., was taken into custody by Colorado Springs Police Department personnel approximately five hours after he allegedly entered the Planned Parenthood clinic Nov. 27 about noon and began firing at those outside the building.
In a series of gun battles between Dear and police officers, three people, including a Colorado law enforcement officer, were killed and nine others, including five officers, were injured.
Colleton County Sheriff’s Office’s first contact with Dear came on June 22, 1997 when the sheriff’s office handled a domestic violence complaint against Dear.
He reportedly assaulted his then-wife, but his wife told the sheriff’s office that while she wanted the alleged assault documented, she did not want to press charges.
In 2002, incidents reported Dear as the suspect in a pair of incidents.
On May 23, 2002, he was arrested on a charge of being a peeping tom after an neighbor reported that Dear had been spotted hiding in the brush near her home and looking into the residence.
That charge was dismissed when it went to a preliminary hearing.
On Nov. 1, 2002, Dear was a suspect in a animal cruelty case, suspected of shooting a neighbor’s dog with a pellet gun. He denied shooting the animal and apparently no charges were filed.
A check of Colleton County court records also lists several traffic offenses and civil cases involving Dear.
The last encounter between the sheriff’s office and Dear was on April 17, 2007 when Dear contacted the sheriff’s office to report that the former tenants of a rental property he owned allegedly removed a hot water heater and refrigerator after being evicted.
At that time Dear listed his home as Swannanoa, N.C. Both Swannanoa and Black Mountain are near Asheville, N.C. Media reports state that Dear’s Black Mountain residence was a cabin without running water or electricity, located on a dirt road
The incident reports involving Dear handled by the local sheriff’s office said he was born in Charleston. In many of those reports, he listed his occupation as self-employed art dealer.
A further record check reported that Dear’s South Carolina driver’s license expired in 2014.
According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, “Most recently, Dear lived in a travel trailer with a woman and at least two dogs in South Park Ranches, a subdivision with scattered 5-acre lots, small cabins and trailers about 65 miles west of Colorado Springs.
“A small black cross adorned the front of his home, just like his former property in South Carolina.
“A wooden lean-to, a crude storage shed, and an all-terrain vehicle were inside a chickenwire fence encircling his trailer. Some firewood was stacked beside the trailer, and parts of tree limbs and other wood were layered decoratively outside the wire fence.
“Dear’s rustic property is typical of small, makeshift dwellings that surround the town, said Van Wands, who called Hartsel a magnet for loners. “People live in tents, Tuff Sheds, trailer houses,” Wands said. “They’re here for a reason. Some want to be left alone. Some are here because it’s cheap. Some are here because they have no other options.””
For more information from Colorado, visit gazette.com.