Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Sunday dismissed the idea that anti-abortion rhetoric influenced the shooter who opened fire in a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic on Friday, referencing reports that the suspected shooter is a “transgendered leftist activist.”
During a press conference in Iowa, Cruz slammed “vicious rhetoric on the left blaming those who are pro-life” for the shooting, the Texas Tribune reported.
“The media promptly wants to blame him on the pro-life movement when at this point there’s very little evidence to indicate that,” Cruz said, according to the Texas Tribune.
A reporter told Cruz that reports indicate that the suspected shooter, Robert Lewis Dear, mentioned “baby parts” to law enforcement after he was arrested.
“It’s also been reported that he was registered as an independent and a woman and a transgendered leftist activist,” Cruz hit back, referencing a voter registration form that allegedly lists Dear as a woman. “If that’s what he is, I don’t think it’s fair to blame on the rhetoric on the left. This is a murderer.”
A spokesperson told Buzzfeed News that Cruz referenced reports about the suspect’s gender in order “to make the point that we don’t know all the details.”
Cruz was also asked on Sunday if the shooting was an act of domestic terrorism. He called it a murder, according to the Texas Tribune.
“It was a multiple murder of what appears to be a deranged individual. And it was horrific, it was evil, and we’ll find out more out about the facts, but I don’t think we should jump to conclusions,” he said.
Dear was arrested and accused of opening fire in the Planned Parenthood clinic on Friday, killing three and injuring nine. He will appear in court for the first time on Monday.