Arrest made in Florida clinic fire

Story highlights

  • Authorities arrest Bobby Joe Rogers of Tuscaloosa, Alabama
  • He will face federal charges in connection with the fire at a women's clinic
  • The clinic in Pensacola has a long history of abortion-related violence
An Alabama man was arrested in connection with the arson of a women's clinic in Pensacola, Florida, authorities said Thursday.
Investigators from the Florida Fire Marshal and Joint Terrorism Task Force accuse Bobby Joe Rogers, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, of setting the fire, which caused about $300,000 in damages.
Rogers was being held at the Escambia County Jail in Pensacola pending a federal indictment.
"We are thankful that no one was injured during this incident and for the collaboration between all of the law enforcement agencies involved in this case," said Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, who also serves as state fire marshal.
Even before the arrest, Sunday's fire at the American Family Planning clinic was believed by some to have been intentionally set.
"Obviously somebody doesn't like abortion," area resident Danielle Moulden told CNN affiliate WEAR. "I'm against it myself, but I'd never go that far."
Pensacola has a long history of abortion-related violence, including two bombings and a fatal shooting at the clinic where the fire broke out.
In 1984, the clinic -- then known as The Ladies Center -- was bombed twice. A pipe bomb destroyed the building on June 25, 1984, and on Christmas Day that year, the clinic and two other doctor's offices where abortions were performed were bombed. Four people were convicted in the Christmas bombing, and charges were dropped in the June incident, according to WEAR.
In July 1994, Dr. John Britton and his escort, James Barrett, were shot and killed outside The Ladies Center. Barrett's wife was wounded. Anti-abortion activist Paul Hill was executed for the deaths in 2003.