Authorities are investigating a possible hate crime at a Planned Parenthood facility in Columbia, Missouri that was intentionally set ablaze on Sunday morning.
The FBI is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the arsonist. The building was forced to close after the “suspicious” fire, though, thankfully, no one was in the facility when the fire was set. The building’s sprinkler system put out the fire before firefighters even arrived on the scene. Still, the criminal remains at large.
An individual wearing dark-colored clothing was seen on surveillance video walking onto the clinic’s grounds, according to the FBI. The bureau said the same individual was captured on video leaving the grounds as smoke poured out of the building.
In a statement it issued late Tuesday afternoon, Planned Parenthood Great Plains said it was “clear that this was an intentional effort to damage our facility in order to disrupt services and block patient access to sexual and reproductive health care.”
“Make no mistake — we are committed to providing care in the Columbia community, and this crime will not deter us from our mission,” it said. “Our patients rely on us each day, and with a strong community of supporters beside us, we will reopen our doors as soon as possible.”
If this was indeed a hate crime, it’s hard to know what the arsonist hoped to accomplish. It’s possible the person was so ignorant that he or she wrongly assumed the facility offered abortions. They don’t. In fact, there’s only one Planned Parenthood in the state that currently offers those services, and it’s in St. Louis.
Which means this criminal just tried torching a building that offers cancer screenings.
(Image via Shutterstock)