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The man suspected of setting fire to a Tennessee Planned Parenthood clinic and shooting at a federal building died months ago, officials say

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The man is accused of intentional arson at a Tennessee Planned Parenthood clinic and later died in a shooting at the federal courthouse several months ago, officials announced Monday, disclosing both the man’s death and the charges.

Federal court documents show the man, 64-year-old Mark Thomas Reno, died Aug. 15. However, many files in his case were sealed until this week, including records showing he was arrested in connection with Planned Parenthood arson

“The government’s investigation revealed that (Reno) engaged in a series of violent acts of destruction of property in Knoxville beginning in early 2021,” the newly unsealed complaint said.

The complaint says Reno fired a shotgun at the clinic’s door in early 2021, shattering the glass and leaving holes in the reception area. Reno then set fire to the clinic in December 2021, the document says.

The building was not occupied at the time of the fire, but had to be closed for several months to undergo a $2.2 million renovation.

Other court documents show that the FBI began surveillance of Reno in April of this year after he told an undercover agent that he belonged to a group that aims to resist activities that conflict with Catholic orthodoxy. According to the documents, the agent secretly recorded Reno saying his group had “many targets.”

Reno also told the undercover agent that he was in the A riot at the US Capitol in January 2021. The agent said authorities reviewed records from that day and saw he was present, but there was no evidence he had broken any laws.

By July, Reno was accused of shooting into a federal building in Knoxville and damaging three windows, according to court documents.

Court documents show Reno had been in custody since July but was temporarily released for treatment in August. The cause of death was not immediately released.

“The person who was arrested in this case is not the only one who is responsible,” said Ashley Caufield, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi. “When politicians use hateful rhetoric against abortion providers and support extreme laws like Tennessee’s total abortion ban, it shouldn’t surprise us that some people find real-world violence justified.”

Caufield and others criticized Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee for not condemning the attack on the Planned Parenthood clinic. Over the summer, the governor instead condemned vandalism at a crisis pregnancy center designed to dissuade people from getting abortions.

Tennessee is among several states that have passed so-called trigger laws that ban nearly all abortions after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the constitutional right to the procedure. Under the law, Planned Parenthood and other health clinics across the state stopped providing abortions.

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee said their office would make a statement on Tuesday.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/mark-thomas-reno-planned-parenthood-arson-suspect-died-tennessee/

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