Attacks on Abortion Doctors Investigated

Spurred by the sniper slaying of a Buffalo, N.Y. physician, U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno in November created a federal task force to investigate a possible conspiracy in a series of attacks on abortion providers.

The announcement came a month after the Oct. 23 slaying of Dr. Barnett Slepian, who was shot in front of his family through his kitchen window, and marked the second such probe. A federal jury disbanded in 1996 after finding no evidence of a national conspiracy during a two-year investigation.

Authorities also issued a material witness warrant for James Kopp, a hard-line anti-abortion protester nicknamed "Atomic Dog" whose car was seen near Slepian's residence. The underground "Army of God" manual, detailing how to make bombs, is dedicated to Atomic Dog and others. Now, authorities believe Kopp may be hiding in Mexico.

There have been four other sniper attacks on Canadian and American abortion doctors since 1994, and officials have said Kopp apparently crossed the Canadian border at times that would fit with the crimes. Witnesses in Hamilton, Ontario, have also told the FBI that Kopp was the man they saw dropping off anti-abortion threats at a local newspaper office.