Teen arrested for Planned Parenthood attack in Delaware

shutterstock 411409570 Blue and white sign above the entrance for the Planned Parenthood clinic in Newton, NJ. Via Shutterstock.

An 18-year-old man is being held in custody and is charged with federal crimes after he allegedly threw an incendiary device at a Planned Parenthood location in Newark, Delaware early on Friday, Jan. 3. 

Samuel James Gulick, of Middletown, Delaware, was arrested on Saturday, Jan 4, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Delaware. Gulick was arrested by the FBI and will have a detention hearing on Friday, Jan. 10. 

Guilick is charged with "maliciously damaging a building used in interstate commerce through the use of fire or destructive device," "intentionally damaging a facility that provides reproductive health services," and "possession of an unregistered destructive device under the National Firearms Act."

According to the release, shortly after 2 a.m. on Friday, Guilick spray-painted the words "Deus Vult," a Chi Rho, and a Marian symbol on the outside of the Planned Parenthood. He then threw a lit object at the window of the facility. 

"The object then exploded and Gulick ran away," said the release. "The fire burned for approximately one minute before self-extinguishing." 

The facility's front window and porch were damaged by the explosion and fire. The site was closed at the time of the incident. 

According to Planned Parenthood's website, the Newark location does not provide abortions on-site, but does offer abortion referrals. The Newark location is the only one of Delaware's three Planned Parenthood facilities that does not provide abortion services. 

Gulick was captured after surveillance video spotted his car leaving the scene. The FBI also found Guilick's social media postings, which include posts using the words "Deus Vult" and "several anti-abortion posts." 

"Deus Vult" or "Deus lo vult" is a Latin phrase that means "God wills it." It was a battle cry of the First Crusade, and was reportedly used in a speech by Pope Urban II in 1095 at the Council of Clermont. In that speech, Urban II instructed that "Deus lo vult" be used as "this one cry raised by all the soldiers of God." In recent years, the term has been popularized online through the use of meme imagery. 

The most serious charge faced by Guilick, damaging a facility that provides reproductive health services, carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Guilick is unlikely to receive the maximum sentence, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office release. 

Ruth Lytle-Barnaby, chief executive of Planned Parenthood of Delaware, told the New York Times that Guilick's actions were "an act of domestic terrorism and a blatant attack on reproductive health." She theorized that Guilick had been "emboldened" by the current presidential administration.

The Diocese of Wilmington, the only Catholic diocese in the state of Delaware, did not respond to CNA in time for publication.

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