On March 10, 1993, Dr. David Gunn is shot and killed during an anti-abortion protest at the Pensacola Women's Medical Services clinic. Dr. Gunn was getting out of his car in the clinic's parking lot when Michael Griffin shouted, "Don't kill any more babies!" and shot the doctor three times in the back.
Griffin immediately surrendered to a nearby police officer. Griffin had attended a prayer service and protest organization meeting three days earlier and was apparently waiting for Dr. Gunn, to appear on the morning of the shooting. The murder of Dr. Gunn was part of a larger emphasis on violence by anti-abortion activists during the 1990s. Death threats, vandalism and arson at abortion clinics increased dramatically. During his trial, Griffin's defense attorneys argued that activist John Burt had brainwashed Griffin and drove him to commit murder. At the time, Burt was the Northwest Florida regional director of the national pro-life group Rescue America. A jury deliberated three hours before finding Griffin guilty of murder and he was sentenced to life in prison. Griffin is currently serving in Okaloosa Correctional Institution in Crestview, Florida. The murder was one of the motivating factors in the creation of the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrance Act.
Michael Thomas Barry is the author of Murder & Mayhem 52 Crimes that Shocked Early California 1849-1949. The book can be purchased from Amazon through the following link: