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Newark Planned Parenthood targeted with explosive device

An image of the Newark Planned Parenthood from the criminal complaint filed against Samuel Gulick of Middletown

A Middletown resident is charged in federal court after allegedly throwing an explosive device at the Planned Parenthood in Newark last week. 

According to court documents, Samuel Gulick of Middletown lit an object on fire and threw it at the Planned Parenthood in Newark early Friday morning. Security camera footage showed the object exploded, burned for about a minute, then went out. 

Gulick was arrested by the FBI Saturday. He is charged with maliciously damaging a building used in interstate commerce with a destructive device, intentionally damaging a facility that provides reproductive health services and possession of an unregistered destructive device. 

Court documents say postings on Gulick’s Instagram page show a strong anti-abortion ideology. A phrase found spray painted on the Planned Parenthood building— “Deus vult,” or “God wills it” in Latin— also appeared on his Instagram page. 

Gulick faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and $250,000 fine if convicted of the most serious charges. Officials with the U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware’s office note actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. 

Planned Parenthood of Delaware called the incident “an act of domestic terrorism” in a statement posted to Facebook Tuesday.

“The safety of patients and staff is our top priority,” said Planned Parenthood of Delaware President and CEO Ruth Lytle-Barnaby. “Planned Parenthood of Delaware has strong measures in place to ensure that our health centers are safe, supportive, welcoming environments for all people to get the high-quality health care they need – regardless of their race, gender identity, sexual orientation, where they are from, or how much money they have.”


This story has been updated to include a statement from Planned Parenthood of Delaware.


Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
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