Security guards at a Kansas abortion clinic called the police on Monday afternoon after a man was found carrying an explosive device and knives in his backpack.
Police arrested the man, who said he was actually at the clinic to apply for a job and was also homeless, which is why he was carrying all of his belongings. Officials later released a statement saying he had no intention of causing damage to the clinic. The Associated Press reports:
The man was arrested on suspicion of unlawful possession of an explosive device, and the case will be presented to the Sedgwick County district attorney's office for possible charges.
Espinosa said the police investigation had "absolutely ruled out" any intent for anti-abortion violence.
"It was just him having all his personal items," Espinosa said.
Police said the explosive device could not have caused much damage if it had been set off, according to the AP.
The clinic, the South Wind Women's Center in Wichita, is in the same building as Dr. George Tiller's clinic, an abortion doctor who was shot and killed by a pro-life gunman in 2009 while attending church.
The site has a history of being targeted in violent pro-life attacks. It was famously bombed in 1986, and in 1993 Tiller was shot in both arms while leaving the clinic. Yesterday's incident may have reminded staffers at the clinic why they have security measures like guards on site.
“At Trust Women South Wind Women’s Center, the safety and security of our staff and patients is our highest concern," the clinic's founder Julie Burkhart said in a statement, according to local station KWCH 12. "We take safety precautions seriously and hold frequent drills to make sure all staff know how to handle any emergency situation. Today, our staff and local law enforcement handled a threat to the safety of our patients and staff promptly and effectively. The systems that we have in place to protect our patients and staff worked. I applaud Wichita Police Department for their prompt action today.”
The scare comes at a time when several states with Republican governors are moving to defund Planned Parenthood, and in an environment where Republican presidential candidates are taking more extreme stances against abortion, despite public opinion being against them.
South Wind Women's Center is one of just three abortion clinics left in Kansas.