From _The Commercial Appeal_, Memphis, TN 01 Jan 1995
POLICE NAB CLINIC SUSPECT IN VA.
(AP) Norfolk, Va.- A student hairstylist was arrested minutes
after shots were fired into an abortion clinic here Saturday,
and he was charged with the slayings of two people at clinics
near Boston a day earlier.
John C. Salvi III, who faces two first-degree murder charges in
the Brookline, Mass., attacks, was arrested about three blocks
from the Hillcrest Clinic.
The clinic, on the second floor of a three-story buidling, was
open at the time shots were fired but no one was injured in the
11:45 a.m. Saturday attack.
Just 25 hours before the shooting in Norfolk, police say Salvi,
clad in black, stalked into two abortion clinics a mile and a
half apart in Brookline, Mass., pulled a weapon from his black
duffle bag and began shooting. The dead were identified as
receptionists at the two clinics and the five wounded were all
clinic employees or volunteers.
Officials said they had been able to identify Salvi from gun
shop receipts and a pistol in the duffle bag that police say he
dropped in a shootout with a clinic security guard outside the
second clinic in Brookline. Federal, state and local officials
opened a nationwide manhunt overnight for the suspect.
Police spent much of the night searching for him around Hampton
Beach, N.H., swooping down on the Beachside Inn, a shabby hotel
that was his last known address. But he had slipped through
their net, and remained at large until spotted by a police arson
investigator working an unrelated case in Norfolk.
"He heard the shots fired in the rear of the building, then
observed a man with a rifle firing into the glass of the lobby,"
police spokesman Larry Hill said. "He saw the man get into a
pickup and leave the scene."
Fleeing in his black Toyota pickup with the distinctive New
Hampshire plates, he was chased by Norfolk police for three
blocks. He tossed a .22-caliber semiautomatic weapon out the
truck window as officers surrounded him, then tried to flee,
but police tackled him.
Federal records show that Salvi had purchased a .22-caliber
rifle from a New Hampshire gun shop.
Like the two abortion clinics here, the Hillcrest Clinic in
Norfolk had been a target of vigorous anti-abortion
demonstrations, said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist
Majority Foundation. She said there had been a firebombing,
several attempts at planting pipe bombs, almost daily pickets
and two occasions when protesters had broken into the building.
Indeed, there were eight protestors in front of the building on
this gray, overcast day when Salvi pulled into the back parking
lot of the office building and asked one of the clinic's
security guards for directions.
"He asked for directions to the Burger King," said Suzette
Caton, the clinic's director of community relations. She said
that the guard, a woman, had momentarily looked away.
"When she looked back, he was returning with a large black
bag," Caton said. "Within seconds he was firing into the lobby.
He shattered the two glass doors and a bullet went into a pay
In all, Salvi pumped 23 bullets into the lobby's windows,
police said. Some of the bullets passed through the lobby and
out the building, striking near the abortion protesters on the
No one was hurt in the incident, although Caton said there had
been about 50 to 60 people in the clinic--- staff, patients and
their friends or family--- when the shooting broke out. Because
of the continual protests, patients were usually sent around to
the back of the building and the doors kept locked. When he
failed to get in, Salvi opened fire on the building in
frustration, police said.
It was not clear exactly what had taken Salvi to Norfolk,
roughly a 12-hour drive south of Boston, but police speculated
that he might have been headed for Naples, Fla., where his
parents live and where he had spent his younger years.
Salvi will apear before a federal magistrate in Norfolk on a
charge of flight to avoid prosecution, then will be extradited
to Massachusetts, U.S. Atty. Donald Stern said in Boston.
Three of those wounded the previous day were in fair condition
Saturday and two were in serious condition.
Salvi's co-workers and fellow students at the Portsmouth School
of Hair Design in New Hampshire, where Salvi was studying to
become a beautician, remember his gloomy air, the picture of a
fetus he had posted on the back of his pickup and his habit of
quoting from the Bible.
"I don't see him qualifying as a terrorist--- maybe a religious
fanatic," said Rick Griffin, who had hired Salvi to help out in
his beauty shop in Hampton, N.H.
At the beauty shop in Hampton, about 40 miles north of Boston,
hairdresser Pam Nicholson found Salvi's silence and "melancholy
manner" disturbing, and Griffin recalled that when he spoke,
which wasn't often, it was mostly to quote Scripture.
"All day long, I've been joking with my clients that it was
him," Griffin said Friday.
"Then I heard the description: curly hair and around 23, and I
said, 'Oh my God. It really was him.'"
Additional comments: This guy's a nutcase, plain and simple. It
isn't helping matters any when the head of Rescue America says
something along the lines of, "the only thing is that until
recently the casualties have only been on one side. There are 30
million dead babies[sic] and only five people on the other side,
so it's really nothing to get all excited about." (Source-New
York Times News Service)