That Friday’s shooting attack on a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic by a man who appears to be a right-wing extremist would become a flashpoint in the United States’ cultural war over abortion was inevitable. Sunday, however, Colorado authorities released the identities of 57-year-old Robert Lewis Dear’s two alleged civilian victims. Along with what was already known about victim Garrett Swasey, a police officer at the University of Colorado’s Colorado Springs campus, their backgrounds complicate the kind of red state–blue state stereotypes that many (myself included) are likely guilty of picturing when the subject of Planned Parenthood is raised:
- Jennifer Markovsky was a 35-year-old stay-at-home mother of two who was reportedly at Planned Parenthood to support a friend. Her husband serves in the military; she lived in a “subdivision full of two-story pastel homes” and is said to have gardened in her backyard while her children played with neighbors.
- Ke’Arre Marcell Stewart, 29, was an Iraq veteran who worked as a DJ and had two daughters. He was a native of Texas; a friend told the Denver Post that he had been known in high school as a good athlete who played football and basketball and ran track. It’s not specifically known why he was at the Planned Parenthood facility, but he was not an employee.
Swasey, 44, was the co-pastor of his church and an accomplished figure skater; he also leaves behind two children.