KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Police are investigating to learn who fired a weapon at the door of a Knoxville Planned Parenthood office early Friday morning.
“Security footage and an eye-witness confirm that, at 6:10 a.m. on Jan. 22, an unidentified individual fired a shotgun at the doors of the Knoxville Planned Parenthood health center. There were no injuries as the facility was closed at the time,” the facility said in a press release.
The Knoxville health center said the office at 710 Cherry Street was closed at the time and no injuries were reported. It will remain closed through the weekend and reopen on Monday, Jan. 25.
Knoxville police said a witness spotted an unknown white male inside of a black or dark-colored 4-door sedan holding a shotgun. The suspect fled the scene before officers arrived.
“Officers observed that the front glass door had been shot out, while small bullet holes were also found throughout the back of the front reception area. The business was closed and unoccupied at the time of the event,” a spokesman for the department said.
“We believe it is no coincidence that this act occurred on the Roe v. Wade anniversary,” said Ashley Coffield, President & CEO of PPTNM. “Planned Parenthood, along with our allies and other health care providers, have long known the violent consequences of inflammatory, hateful rhetoric. Just as hateful rhetoric incited this month’s attack against our democratic processes, we have seen how hateful rhetoric inspires violence against reproductive health care providers.”
It’s the first reported act of targeted violence in the affiliate’s history, the press release states.
On this date in 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision that held women in the United States have a fundamental right to choose whether or not to have abortions without excessive government restriction.
Anyone with information should call the Crime Hotline at 865-215-7212.