KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Someone with a shotgun fired a blast early Friday at the Knoxville Planned Parenthood health center in East Knoxville, shattering a front-door window, authorities said.
The incident happened on the 48th anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade court decision finding a woman has a constitutional right to an abortion.
Security footage captured the 6:10 a.m. incident, according to an agency that released information on behalf of the health provider.
An eyewitness also saw a white male inside a black or dark-colored four-door sedan holding a shotgun, according to Knoxville Police Department spokesman Scott Erland.
"The witness fled the scene and the suspect was no longer at the scene when officers arrived," according to Erland. "Officers observed that the front glass door had been shot out, while small bullet holes were also found throughout the back of the front reception area."
The center on N. Cherry Street was closed at the time.
The Knoxville health center will be closed this weekend and is set to reopen Monday.
It offers health services for men and women. It is a resource to provide women with a medical abortion via a pill.
According to Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi, it's the first reported act of of "targeted violence" in the affiliate’s history.
Erland said a Property Crimes Unit investigator has been assigned to the case. Anyone with information is asked to call the Crime Hotline at 865-215-7212.
“We believe it is no coincidence that this act occurred on the Roe v. Wade anniversary,” said Ashley Coffield, president & CEO of PPTNM. “Planned Parenthood, along with our allies and other health care providers, have long known the violent consequences of inflammatory, hateful rhetoric. Just as hateful rhetoric incited this month’s attack against our democratic processes, we have seen how hateful rhetoric inspires violence against reproductive health care providers.”
Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon said that she was appalled and saddened by the violence in a post on Twitter.
"We must learn as a community, that violence is never the answer to our differences," she said.