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New York Times Article

September 12, 2009

Anti-Abortion Protester Shot to Death


A man who had long been vocal in his opposition to abortion was shot to death Friday morning while staging an anti-abortion protest outside a Michigan high school, authorities said.

The man, James Pouillon, 63, was shot at 7:20 a.m. as he stood outside Owosso High School in Owosso, a city of fewer than 15,000 people 90 miles northwest of Detroit, the authorities said. By Friday afternoon, the police said they had in custody a suspect in the shooting, and in a second fatal shooting nearby, not far from the school.

Officials are investigating whether Mr. Pouillon, who had been involved in anti-abortion efforts for decades, was singled out because of those views. Local newspapers reported that he had been carrying photographs of fetuses outside the school shortly before the shooting.
Prosecutors said the suspect, who is 33, targeted Mr. Pouillon because he disapproved of the victim’s protests in front of children at the school.

“There was some displeasure with how open he was,” said Sara Edwards, the chief assistant prosecutor for Shiawassee County. “He tended to carry big signs with very graphic pictures of fetuses.”

Ms. Edwards said the suspect would likely be charged later Friday.

At a news conference, the Owosso police said several shots were fired at Mr. Pouillon from a passing car. After a witness provided the car’s license plate number, the police arrested the suspect at his home. The authorities did not immediately identified him.

The police said the suspect told them that he had been involved in another shooting Friday at a gravel company, Fuoss Gravel, in nearby Owosso Township. The company’s owner, Mike Fuoss, 61, was found dead in his office around 8 a.m.

Prosecutors said Mr. Fuoss was not involved in abortion protests and had no link to Mr. Pouillon. The suspect was angry at him for another reason, Ms. Edwards said.

The Owosso School District remained on lockdown until the suspect was arrested, officials said. Parents were notified about the shooting and were permitted to take students home.

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