GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — An anti-abortion protester involved in a stabbing outside a Planned Parenthood health center in Oregon was released as investigators sort through issues involving self-defense, authorities said Wednesday.
Josephine County Deputy District Attorney Lisa Turner said it could be weeks before police finish their investigation and turn over the information to prosecutors.
“There definitely are some self-defense issues to look at,” Grants Pass police Lt. Dennis Ward said.
Kailah L. Clair, 22, told police the dispute began as she passed the center in her car and lone protester Christopher R. Tolhurst, 54, went into the road with his sign.
Ward said the woman stopped and kicked over one of Tolhurst’s signs before he pushed her. She later returned with her father, Ted A. Clair, who pushed Tolhurst to the ground and punched him in the face, police said.
Arriving officers reported finding the 48-year-old Clair holding down Tolhurst, who had a knife. Ward said it was a pocket knife with a 3-inch blade.
Clair was stabbed several times and remained in stable condition after undergoing surgery. His daughter was treated for cuts on her hand. Tolhurst had bruises on the side of his face.
Tolhurst, who gave his address as a motel, had been protesting by himself since June outside the health center. He came and went on a bicycle, with his signs in a duffel bag, said Myrna Shaneyfelt of Josephine County Right to Life, who sometimes stopped by to encourage him and warn that he was vulnerable protesting alone.
“He said he had a real passion for stopping Planned Parenthood,” Shaneyfelt said. “He said, ‘I have this calling. I have got to be here.’”
His signs read, “Abortion is Murder,” and “Abortion Kills Children,’” she said.
Settled during the Gold Rush, politically conservative Grants Pass has a long history of anti-abortion activism. Josephine County Right To Life holds an annual parade, and the city is the hometown of Rachelle “Shelley” Shannon, convicted of firebombing abortion clinics and the 1993 shooting of a doctor in Kansas who provided abortions. She is serving an 11-year term in federal prison.
Along with carrying the anti-abortion signs, Tolhurst wore a button and had a placard supporting Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and a GOP candidate for Congress.
Shaneyfelt said the Josephine County Right To Life group had picketed Planned Parenthood for about 20 years, until a court ruling about four years ago prevented members from going on private property, making it difficult to talk to people using the site.
The health center, which does not provide abortions, is on the campus of a medical office complex.
Shaneyfelt said she invited Tolhurst to join picketing by her group outside the local Democratic Party headquarters, but he only showed up once then returned to his protest outside Planned Parenthood.
Ward said police have dealt with several complaints involving protests by Tolhurst.
More Related Stories
- 51 killed in massive Oklahoma tornado
- Don't cry climate-change wolf
- Record tornado devastates Oklahoma
- Limbaugh: No one willing to impeach the first black president
- Tornado reduces Oklahoma City suburb to rubble
- AP: Toll at least 37 dead in Okla. tornado
- Entire Midwest on tornado warning
- Oregon senator proposes appeal to Monsanto Protection Act
- Supreme Court to rule on prayer at government meetings
- Beltway scandal machine breaks, knows nothing about America
- Gitmo hunger striker launches Twitter campaign
- "Hero" cop, honored by Obama, accused of double rape
- Father of gay high school student arrested for dating classmate speaks out
- Pentagon adviser pushed Anthrax drug, which his firm produced
- Conservatives A-OK with closeted Boy Scouts
- The new geography of poverty
- Promotion for NYPD cop who cost city $1.5m in settlements
- Obama to all-male university graduates: Be the best husband to "your boyfriend or partner"
- The truth in Kanye's anti-prison rap
- GOP attorney general candidate tried to force women to report miscarriages to police
- Chinese hackers resume attacks against U.S.
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11