Law & the Courts

Missouri Man Charged with Setting Fire to Planned Parenthood Clinic

(Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

A Columbia, Mo. man has been charged with attempting to destroy a Planned Parenthood clinic by setting fire to it last month.

Wesley Brian Kaster, 42, was arrested Saturday on suspicion of setting fire to the Planned Parenthood-Columbia Health Center in the early hours of the morning on February 10. He allegedly smashed the clinic’s glass front door and tossed a “Molotov cocktail-type device” inside, according to authorities. Surveillance video showed smoke flowing out the door later. No one was inside at the time.

The FBI said last month that it was investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.

This Columbia clinic no longer offer abortions because it could not comply with a state law implemented last year that requires doctors who perform the procedure to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.

The new Planned Parenthood Great Plains president Dr. Brandon Hill issued a message last month highlighting the organization’s determination to continue its mission after the incident.

“Make no mistake — we are committed to provide care in the Columbia community, and this crime will not deter us from our mission,” Hill’s statement said.

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