There was no denying that Paul Hill was articulate and persuasive. He loved being on national television. He enjoyed the limelight. However, his message had the odor of manipulation about it. Two wrongs never make a right.
It should be noted that Paul believed he was doing God’s will. He was convinced of it. There was no doubt in Paul’s mind. To him, his rationale was beyond refutation. Murdering those he perceived as murderers was right. It was a defensive action; it also pointed to a psychopathic condition.
On July 21, 1994, “Taking this defensive action occurred to me. Although at the time my thinking on these things had not crystallized, no matter how I approached the subject, everything seemed to fall together in an amazing manner. I continued to secretly consider shooting an abortionist, half hoping it would not appear as plausible after I had given it more thought.”
The next day was Friday. As usual, Paul went to the abortion clinic – the Ladies Center in Pensacola – to protest. Another protestor arrived. Paul questioned his fellow-protestor, who told him that the abortionist usually arrived at 7:30 am. A police security guard accompanied the abortion doctor. However, the doctor had a habit of arriving a few minutes before the security guard. Which meant there was room for a defensive action to take place. If the matter was timed right, the doctor could be ambushed.
Paul interpreted this as a sign from God. “God had opened a window of opportunity, and it appeared I had been appointed to step through it.”
The following week, Paul’s wife took their three children on a planned visit to his parents. Before they left, the family enjoyed an outing at the beach. Paul played with his son, who was nine, and his two daughters aged three and six. Paul knew this would probably be the last time he saw his family. To control his emotions, he “lifted my heart to the Lord in praise and faith.” God answered him. “I was reminded of God’s promise to bless Abraham, and grant him descendants as numerous as he stars in the sky. I claimed that promise as my own…”
Paul believed that what he was about to do would glorify God. And in return, God would reward him. Everything would be okay.
The fateful day – Monday – arrived. Paul encouraged himself by remembering the words of Romans 14:23. “And whatever is not from faith is sin.” Paul was certain God wanted him to commit murder.
One final time, Paul prayed and spent time reading his Bible. Then he put his shotgun, along with his protest sign in his truck. He drove to the Ladies Center, which was a small, two-story building surrounded by a wood fence. He parked his truck and carried his sign and his shotgun to the clinic’s entrance. He laid the shotgun on the ground between his feet. Covering it with his protestor’s sign, he began laying white crosses out in front of the entrance. The crosses represented the deaths and graves of the unknown unborn children.
It was 7:00 am.
Just before 7:30 am, the doctor arrived. Dr. John Britton was 69 years old. He wore a bulletproof vest and sat in the passenger’s seat of a blue pickup truck. The truck was driven by Col. James H. Barrett. Barrett acted as the doctor’s unarmed and unpaid escort. He was 74 years old. Barrett’s wife was also in the truck.
Paul Hill stood beside the entrance. Barrett recognized Hill, because Hill protested every Friday. As the truck drove by, Barrett said, “Get out of the way, Paul Hill. You know this truck.”
The truck passed through the entrance. Paul Hill picked up his shotgun and leveled it at the truck’s cabin. He aimed for Dr. Britton’s head.
Barrett’s wife looked at Hill, who “had something up to his face. I did not realize it was a gun. Then I saw the recoil … and heard the boom.” She dropped to the floor as an explosion ripped through the truck.
“Oh, my God, he’s shooting,” she screamed.
Hill fired four rounds into the truck. Then he reloaded and fired four more rounds. He calmly laid the shotgun at his feet and walked away. He held his arms out and away from his body. He didn’t want the police to think he was still armed. They might shoot him.
Dr. Britton sat like a statue in his seat. Blood gushed from his head. Barrett was covered in blood. Both men were already dead.