The search for James Charles Kopp intensified yesterday after officials charged him with second degree murder and with violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act by using deadly force to block access to an abortion clinic.
Kopp is also wanted for questioning in four shootings of abortion providers known as the “Remembrance Day” shootings, but officials say they don’t have sufficient evidence to charge him in those crimes, which took place in Canada and near Rochester, NY.
A $500,000 reward has been offered for information leading to Kopp’s arrest and conviction. Officials would like to speak to anyone who saw Kopp or either of his cars, which include a 1987 Chevrolet Cavalier and a 1977 green Dodge Aspen, in the Rochester of Buffalo areas in 1997 or 1998. Officials found the Cavalier abandoned in a Newark Airport last December, but have been unable to locate the Dodge Aspen, which bears the Vermont license plate BFN595.
A picture of Kopp has been posted on the FBI’s Web site. FBI posters describe Kopp as a 5’10” white man who wears glasses, walks with a slight limp, and has weighed between 155 and 170 pounds. He has used more than 2 dozen aliases, including Clyde Swenson, Jim Cobb, and Jack Crotty. His last known address was St. Albans, Vermont. Kopp has been arrested numerous times for blockading abortion clinics and has traveled widely in the U.S. and abroad.
His skills include carpentry, telephone and lock installation, masonry, welding, and typing. He grew up in Marin County, California and attended the University of California at Santa Cruz and California State University at Fullerton, where he earned a master’s degree in biology.
After suffering family troubles including his parent’s divorce and the death of his sister, Kopp joined a fundamentalist Protestant group and later became a devout Catholic. Kopp became involved in the anti-abortion movement through these religious groups and started traveling across the country to attend anti-abortion protests at clinics during the late 1980s. At some point, he joined one of the anti-abortion’s most militant sects, the Lambs of Christ.