Police in Casper, Wyoming released surveillance footage Tuesday as part of an arson investigation after they said a person in May attempted to set fire to a building slated to become the only clinic in procedural abortion of the state.
No injuries were reported in the fire that damaged the interior of the facility. The new footage shows a masked person carrying what appears to be a gas can into the building.
Police described the person in the video as an average 5ft 7in white female. Footage shows the person wearing a dark hoodie and surgical mask in the early hours of May 25.
Police had previously considered the possibility that the fire was intentionally started, but news on Tuesday revealed a suspect in an active arson investigation.
LOOK:Oklahoma Governor Signs Nation’s Toughest Abortion Ban, Effective Immediately
VIDEO:Activists gather across the country to rally for abortion rights and protest the Supreme Court
The Denver Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Field Division has joined the Casper Police investigation into the incident and is offering a reward of up to $5. $000 for any valuable information leading to the suspect’s arrest.
Photos from the scene show the future Wellspring Health Access clinic surrounded by police tape. A window has been smashed and smoke damage is visible outside.
Wyoming currently has only one medical abortion provider — located in the town of Jackson, near the Idaho border, according to a Wellspring Health Access website. The Casper Clinic was scheduled to open in mid-June, but organizers released a statement on Wednesday saying the opening had been delayed by about six months.
“Despite these setbacks, we are undeterred in our mission to provide the people of Casper with access to comprehensive reproductive health care, including abortion care,” clinic founder Julie Burkhart said in a statement. the press release.
The arson investigation comes as abortion rights have become a national flashpoint following a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade.
Several states have passed “trigger laws” that would restrict abortions immediately after the court ruling, if it reverses historic precedent. Wyoming became one of those states in March when Governor Mark Gordon signed a bill banning most abortions.
Abortion rights advocates across the country say they have seen an increase in violence against clinics. Statistics collected by the National Abortion Federation show a recent increase in intrusions and obstructions in clinics, death threats and harassment by mail and on the Internet.
Contributor: Trevor Hughes, USA TODAY; The Associated Press.