Middletown teen fire-bombs, vandalizes Newark Planned Parenthood

Anti-abortion protest at Planned Parenthood
Creative Commons/THE

The potential act of terrorism against Planned Parenthood is the most recent against the company that frequently draws protests, like the one pictured above.

BY , Assistant to Managing Mosaic Editor
AND , Senior Reporter

A potential act of domestic terrorism at a Planned Parenthood in Newark resulted in the arrest of Samuel James Gulick, 18.

Gulick, a resident of Middletown, Del., is charged with maliciously attempting to damage or destroy a building, intentionally attempting to damage a facility that provides reproductive health services, and possession of an unregistered destructive device.

At approximately 2:16 a.m. on Jan. 3, security cameras showed a man approaching the front porch and spray-painting the front wall before lighting an object on fire and hurling it at the window. The incendiary device created an explosion and shattered the glass of the window. The man then fled the scene while the fire continued to burn, eventually self-extinguishing after one minute.

Further investigation by Michael Eldredge, an explosive enforcement officer with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, revealed that the incendiary device was a Molotov cocktail, which is similar to a bomb. Law enforcement officials believe that this act may have constituted domestic terrorism, meaning that it was ideologically motivated.

At approximately 7:40 a.m., an employee of the location arrived to find the fire damage, a shattered window and the phrase “Deus Vult” spray-painted in red on the wall.

The phrase “Deus Vult” is a Latin battle cry associated with the First Crusade which means “God wills it.” Accompanying the phrase were various unidentifiable symbols believed have religious connotations.

Gulick’s Instagram contained the phrase “Deus Vult” in his biography, which reads, “If a woman had one piece of bread for every gender there is, she could make exactly one sandwich. Remember Waco and Ruby Ridge. Deus Vult.” Several other posts showed resolute anti-abortion idealisms, including one post that compared abortion to Nazi Germany.

Newark Planned Parenthood does not provide abortions, although they do provide abortion referrals.

Gulick has been charged with a three-count complaint, and, if convicted of the most serious charge, could serve up to 20 years in prison and face a $250,000 fine.

Ruth Lytle-Barnaby, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Delaware believes that these incidences are not created in a vacuum, rather, they are a slow process of ideological change. She also believes that the current White House administration has helped to advance certain hate agendas.

“I do believe that our current administration has created an atmosphere of emboldened for certain groups,” Lytle-Barnaby said. “When you allow hate to permeate and to push an agenda that is anti-reproductive health, and, I’m going to say, anti-overall health, people should be alarmed.”

Alyvia Pauzer, a junior psychology major, works with the university’s Sexual Offense Support (SOS) and said she largely supports Planned Parenthood. She said she was in disbelief at the news and shocked that Gulick is 18.

“That scares me because literally someone younger than me is bombing a Planned Parenthood,” Pauzer said. “What is being put into kids’ minds thinking that’s okay?”

Pauzer hopes to intern or work at a Planned Parenthood in the near future, but said this incident would make her think twice.

“I want to get an internship there and now I’m scared to,” Pauzer said. “It’s almost making me scared to even think about going [to Planned Parenthood] because I’m wondering if I’m going to get bombed on.”

For students interested in combating and preventing such hate crimes, Lytle-Barnaby advocates vigilance, especially with regards to the internet.

“Social media is such a big part of all of our lives,” Lytle-Barnaby said, “If you are someone who is getting solicited by these hate groups or if you see someone shifting, tell someone. When you’re near hate rhetoric, call it out. When you see hate, make that not ok again.”

According to Lytle-Barnaby, the Newark Planned Parenthood will remain open during repairs and will continue to provide healthcare to the people and citizens of Newark.

“We have been here for 85 years,” Lytle-Barnaby said. “We were here yesterday. We are here today. We will be here tomorrow, and we will continue to be here. We are fiercely dedicated to providing healthcare to the people of Delaware.”

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