The Murderer Who Started a Movement
Michael Frederick Griffin’s killing of Dr. David Gunn ignited a war on abortion providers. He could soon be a free man.
By Dahlia Lithwick
Oct. 31, 2017
Dr. David Gunn was 47 years old when he was gunned down in 1993 during an abortion protest outside his clinic in Pensacola, Florida. Today we think of this as the first targeted killing of an abortion doctor in America—the murder that led to passage of the FACE Act, which made it a federal crime to block access to clinics. It also established the battle lines in an ever more violent and nihilistic war against abortion providers, one that has led to the murders of nearly a dozen more people in the decades since.
Michael Frederick Griffin reportedly shouted “Don’t kill any more babies” just before putting three bullets in Gunn’s back. While the doctor bled to death, Griffin calmly surrendered to the police, saying, “I just shot someone.” Those attending the protest with Griffin showed no alarm at the shooting, a witness told the Washington Post’s William Booth: “It looked like they were just happy.”