Thursday, April 24, 2014  
The Charger Bulletin

New Haven Fed Up With Violence in the City

by Lesha Daley | October 24, 2012

New Haven residents are outraged with the escalating violent activity that is happening in their neighborhoods every day.

The recent shooting of a toddler in the middle of the afternoon has infuriated the city’s citizens, especially those living in the neighborhood of Edgewood and Kensington Avenue. Fortunately, 18-month-old Tramire Miller survived the shooting and is currently doing better.

Violence in New Haven has not just become an issue, however the drive-by shooting that almost cost a child his life has put the city in a recent state of panic. Miller’s shooting is a prime example of how the innocent can be unnecessarily affected gang violence. Area residents have also complained of other fowl play which they believe leads to the large homicide count.

Residents are happy that Miller’s shooters have been arrested, but are still furious about how the violence has gotten out of control and want to take measures to improve safety their neighborhoods. Communities reach out to the police, anti-violence groups such as Ice the Beef, and public officials such as Mayor John DeStefano and Alderman Frank Douglas for support in helping to keep their city safe. Alderman Frank Douglas suggests that a community center should be opened, such as the former Dixwell Q House, as place that gives the youth refuge from the streets.

Since the shooting, the violence has only gotten worse with retaliation attempts. New Haven police officers are patrolling the area as a safety precaution in hopes to help de-escalate the hostility. Volunteers and outreach workers have gone through the high-crime activity neighborhood and encourage residents not to react violently.

Keeping the neighborhoods safe is an ongoing process that requires all community occupants’ participation. Residents must report any seen violent activity that could possibly lead to other shootings and homicides, as a step to fight against violence.

Shooting at Oikos University

by Ana Abraham | April 11, 2012

The biggest mass school shooting since the tragedy at Virginia Tech happened Monday, April 2, in Oakland, California. One Goh, the 43-year-old man who allegedly killed seven people and wounded three others at Oikos University is being held without bail.

Goh was a student of nursing at Oikos University until last year. Some reports say he was expelled, supposedly for anger management and behavioral issues. Others say he left voluntarily. Goh had gone back to the school to speak to an administrator about receiving a refund for money he had paid while still enrolled in the school. Upon being denied, Goh went back to the school on Monday morning armed with a .45-caliber handgun. He started shooting at around 10:30 a.m. His intended target, the administrator who denied him the refund, was not at the school on Monday.

Oakland Chief of Police Howard Jordan described the scene of the shooting “extremely chaotic” and an “execution.” Goh allegedly took a receptionist hostage and began lining up victims and shooting them. He then left the campus in one of the victim’s cars. He surrendered around three miles away in a supermarket. Jordan told “Good Morning America” on Tuesday that Goh had been “disrespected” and “mistreated” by his fellow students at the school. If convicted, Goh could be eligible for the death penalty in California.

On Friday, April 6, Oakland Police found the gun that they believe was used by Goh in the shooting. He had not had the weapon when he had been taken into custody Monday, and police searched area estuaries using divers and Sonar until they found the weapon.

Oikos University is a small Christian school that has close ties to the Korean-American community. It was formed by a pastor from South Korea.

High Noon at UT Austin

by Samantha Shinn | October 6, 2010

It seemed like a normal Tuesday morning at the University of Texas in Austin, but September 28 was anything but a normal day for the students and faculty. Colton J. Tooley, 19, was a sophomore at UT and a Math Major. He was also a resident from South Austin and a strong student with much admiration from his professors.

That morning, Tooley ran through campus wearing a dark suit and a ski mask, carrying an AK-47 assault rifle, and he fired six rounds on the sixth floor of the Perry Castaneda Library, one of the busiest undergraduate libraries on campus. No one was harmed in this random shooting rampage, because he did not have any intention of harming anyone, just to scare people. “He didn’t really want to hurt anyone…he had many opportunities to fatally hurt someone and he didn’t” says student Lindsi Ramirez. Tooley shot himself fatally after he fired the rounds.

The security measures taken by the university were very efficient and effective to keep all the students and faculty out of harm’s way. Minutes after the first gunshot was heard, UTPD sent out a campus wide alert through text message, email, and other campus digital media that was available; the alert informed people that there was a gunman running around campus and that he was in the PCL. They were encouraged to stay where they were and lock all the windows and doors. Classes were canceled until further notice. In order to perform secondary searches in every building, there were APD SWAT, UTPD, Travis County SO SWAT, DPS SWAT, and EOD explosive dog teams present. After setting up a perimeter around campus, they evacuated the students and faculty. Soon after, though, campus was reopened and normal schedule was resumed on Wednesday.

The timing of the shooting was very coincidental or ironic as some say, because the Texas Senate will soon to be in session, and one of the foremost topics of debate is the right for students to carry concealed handguns on campus and into classrooms. The bill failed in 2008 and 2009, but with this fresh new incident on everyone’s mind, it will be getting much more support than it did in the past. The bill states that no public university across the state of Texas can prohibit the students and faculty from carrying a concealed handgun if they are licensed to carry one. So far, Utah is the only state in the country that has passed this law.

However, should students really have the right to be armed at all times? When midterms or finals are going on, tensions are high and emotions run wild. Should a student with the pressure of college and classes be able to handle a weapon? “It would ironically make me feel less safe. I would not trust myself with a weapon, let alone my peers” said another student, Christina Ulsh. When asked the opinion of his thoughts on the bill, student Cody McCuiston said “I think that giving college students the right to carry concealed weapons on campus because of a school shooting is counterproductive. I think that would make it easier for situations like the UT shooting to occur.” This bill is not greatly supported within the student body, but it is very supported in the Texas legislation right now.

Due to the incredible safety precautions, no one except Tooley himself was hurt, and UT should be commended on their extensive safety measures. This was a very random act and a sad day for Tooley’s family and friends, because the motivation is still unclear and it is still undergoing an investigation.

Hopkins Hospital Security in Hot Water

by Liz De La Torre | September 22, 2010

Talk about taking news badly. According to Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III., fifty year-old Paul Warren Pardus opened fire at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, killing his mother and himself after becoming “emotionally distraught and overwhelmed by the news of his mother’s condition” on Thursday, Sept. 16. David B. Cohen, the orthopedic surgeon who was informing Pardus on his mother’s state, was shot once in the abdomen, but is expected to survive after undergoing surgery.

Around 11 a.m., Pardus went to meet with Dr. Cohen regarding his mother’s maladies. Though details of the discussion have not been made public, Pardus was so upset that he pulled a semiautomatic from his waistband and shot the doctor. Following Pardus’ three hour hold up in a room shortly after, authorities locked down a small area of the Nelson Building while allowing the rest of the medical center, which is made up of a hospital as well as research and education buildings, to stay accessible. Pardus was later found sprawled on the floor with his mother on the bed, both shot to death. The ailment of his mother, eighty four year-old Jean Davis, is unknown, though it is speculated to have been cancer.

Nearly thirty minutes after Cohen was shot, an e-mail was sent ordering staff to remain locked in their rooms and away from the windows. About two hours later, another e-mail assured staff that police were “in control of the situation.” While Hopkins staff and officials maintain “full confidence” in their security, concerns are rampant on how Pardus, who had a handgun permit, was able to pass the metal detectors which apparently screen both patients and visitors. Of the incident, Hopkins Hospital had this to say on Sept. 17: “Hopkins has more than 80 entrances just to the main hospital and 80,000 visitors a week. We currently employ about 400 security guards to protect the hospital and its immediate surroundings. These guards are highly trained professionals and they demonstrated that professionalism during yesterday’s incident, as they have for decades. But as with any very large public place, isolated incidents will occur.” In an effort to quell apprehension, the hospital is currently reviewing security procedures to determine whether signs were overlooked that might have thwarted the shooting.

4 shot, 33 arrested and dozens cited in NYC mayhem

by Liz De La Torre | April 6, 2010

From The Associated Press

NEW YORK – Hundreds of young people spilled into midtown Manhattan near Times Square early Monday, brawling and shooting guns after the New York International Auto Show in an annual night of mayhem the mayor called “wilding.”

Four people were shot and 33 were arrested, mostly on charges of disorderly conduct on the streets not far from the Jacob A. Javits Center, where the auto show is held. Three men and a woman were arrested later Monday on gang assault charges related to one of the shootings, police said. It wasn’t clear whether anyone who fired shots was among those arrested. Another 23 were issued summons for disorderly conduct or were given juvenile reports and released.

It’s not clear why the annual event often leads to violence in neighboring areas, but the police department had additional officers on patrol because of problems during past shows dating to 2003, chief spokesman Paul J. Browne said. Last year, there were 27 arrests on the same night. In earlier years arrest numbers ran in the low 20s, Browne said. A teenager was stabbed in a similar ruckus in 2006, and in 2007, another teen was slashed in the arm.

Browne described those arrested Monday as “young men looking for trouble” after the auto show.

The fracas rattled businesses near busy districts in Herald Square, as well as nearby Times Square, where an armed street hustler was shot dead by police after exchanging gunfire on the street in December.

“You know it’s the cost of doing business,” said Angus McIndoe, owner of the restaurant bearing his name next to Broadway theaters. “It’s not the first time there has been nutty activity in Times Square.”

Auto show spokesman Chris Sams said no one stood out as suspicious Sunday at the show, which runs until April 11 and attracts more than 1 million people.

“We had an amazing crowd, a very family-oriented crowd. The type of person who makes an auto show great, people listening to the presenters,” he said.

Security at the show is tight, and officials work with police, Sams said. Visitors are checked when they arrive.

Most of the people arrested were men in their 20s from boroughs other than Manhattan. At least two were known gang members, Browne said; the four people arrested on gang assault charges — three men ages 17 to 23 and a teenage girl — were not believed to have fired any shots, police said.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg described the night’s events as “wilding,” using a word created by the media during the notorious 1989 rape of the woman known as the Central Park jogger. Five men were charged with gang-raping her, but their convictions were thrown out in 2002.

“We loaded the area up with police, but they can’t be everywhere,” he said. “We’re not going to tolerate it. … This is just a bunch of people who shouldn’t be on the streets if they behave this way, and we’re not going to stand for it.”

The Manhattan district attorney’s office said 43 defendants were awaiting arraignment, but those included arrests made in other precincts that may be unrelated.

It was the second major instance of gunfire in the area in recent months, where police have worked for years to stop petty crimes and hustlers targeting tourists. Police and a street hustler armed with a machine pistol exchanged shots in December in Times Square — shattering a Broadway theater ticket window and scattering crowds — before police fatally shot the man.

Tourists in the area said Monday they weren’t too concerned.

“I think compared to other cities, this is a pretty safe place,” said Kai Tienmann, of Berlin, visiting with his son. “Of course anywhere in a safe city, can happen something like this. So much people here. A lot of police, also a lot of police cameras.”

Twenty-eight-year-old Joseph Markey from Dublin said he wasn’t worried.

“I’m from Dublin; there are a lot of shootings there,” He said. “All the big cities have that problem.”

Overall, crime in the city is still at record lows despite an uptick in murders, felony assaults and rapes in the first quarter of this year. Jittery lawmakers are worried about crime rising, especially as the ranks are decreased at the nation’s largest police department.

“We need to get in front of this growing epidemic before we find ourselves reliving the bad old days of the 1970s,” Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer said.

There were no reports of tourists or business owners being attacked in the melee. Police weren’t sure how many of those arrested knew each other or what sparked the shootings, which began shortly after midnight. Officers made arrests starting around 10:30 p.m. Sunday and continued into early Monday.

A man was shot in the ankle at Eighth Avenue and 40th Street around 12:10 a.m. Shortly after, a woman was hit with a BB gun several blocks northeast at Seventh Avenue and 51st Street. About two hours later, two women, both 19, were shot — one in the elbow and another in the thigh — near Seventh Avenue and 34th Street.

The woman hit with the BB gun was treated and released; the others were in stable condition, police said.

Gunman sprays DC crowd, killing 4 and wounding 5

by Liz De La Torre | March 31, 2010

From The Associated Press

WASHINGTON – A gunman sprayed bullets from a moving vehicle into a crowd in southeast Washington, killing four and wounding at least five others before leading police on a chase into Maryland.

Three people were arrested in the worst shooting in D.C. in 16 years. The D.C. councilman who represents the area, former Mayor Marion Barry, said a dispute between groups in the neighborhood caused the shooting.

Six men and three women were hit by the gunfire around 7:30 p.m., said D.C. police spokesman Officer Hugh Carew. Fire department spokesman Pete Piringer said all were in their 20s and 30s, except for one teenager.

Police have not released the names of the victims, but Rico Scott said his cousin, 19-year-old DeVaughn Boyd, was one of those killed.

Boyd was a high school senior who didn’t hang out with the wrong crowd, said Scott, who visited the shooting scene Wednesday morning. Boyd liked to go to the mall and the movies with friends, as well as parties that featured go-go music, a mix of soul, funk and Latin styles, Boyd said.

Boyd’s mother was initially told that her son was taken to Washington Hospital Center, then learned early Wednesday he was pronounced dead at a different hospital, Scott said.

“She’s not good because she wasn’t able to see her baby boy before he succumbed to his injuries. She wasn’t able to give him one last, ‘It’s going to be all right,’” Scott said. “She’s not going to be all right for some time.”

By late Tuesday, one victim had died at the scene, a second was pronounced dead at a hospital and the third died in an operating room, officials said. It wasn’t immediately clear where the fourth victim had died.

The shooting was the worst in D.C. since 1994, when four men fired into a crowd at the O Street Market, killing a teenager and wounding eight other people. A man was convicted of orchestrating the shooting to retaliate against people who had shot him in the stomach and robbed him several weeks earlier. He believed the people who had attacked him often visited the market.

Four D.C. officers were slightly injured while chasing a suspect’s vehicle into neighboring Prince George’s County in Maryland, authorities said. A weapon was also recovered.

The Washington Post reported that police, aided by a helicopter, pursued a van from the scene.

Two men were to be arraigned in the shooting Wednesday afternoon, but a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office did not immediately know what their charges were. It was also not clear whether the two men were among the three already arrested.

Officers had cleared the shooting scene Wednesday, but there were still five police cruisers parked outside a brick garden-style apartment building on a main road that links the area to downtown. There was a blood-covered gauze package on the sidewalk, which was wet and smelled of bleach.

The shootings were in a neighborhood near a water treatment plant and Bolling Air Force Base and about seven miles from the White House. D.C. Councilman Phil Mendelson said the area was known for drugs and related violence.

“It’s not a stranger to violent activity, unfortunately,” said Mendelson, the chairman of the D.C. Council’s Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary.

Barry, who had been briefed by police, said it appears “crews” — groups of friends who are not necessarily organized as gangs — had some sort of dispute with each other.

“I’m saddened. I’m outraged. I’m angry,” Barry said. “We have a tough enough reputation anyway,” he said of his district.

He said he was worried about further retaliation between groups, but that he had been reassured by police.

Washington reported 143 homicides last year, the fewest in nearly 50 years.

Ohio State janitor’s gunfire kills co-worker, self

by Liz De La Torre | March 10, 2010

From The Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio – An Ohio State University janitor who was about to lose his job walked into a maintenance building for his early morning shift Tuesday and shot two supervisors, killing one of them and fatally shooting himself. No students were hurt.

Nathaniel Brown, 51, arrived for work at the nation’s largest university dressed in dark clothing, a hooded sweat shirt and a backpack. He then opened fire in an office suite using two handguns, campus Police Chief Paul Denton said.

Brown spent five years in prison in the 1970s and ’80s for receiving stolen property but lied about it on his job application, records show. It wasn’t immediately clear whether Ohio State had done the required background check on him.

Ohio State released documents from Brown’s personnel file showing that supervisors complained he was tardy, slept on the job and had problems following instructions. The university sent him a letter March 2 informing him that his employment was to end Saturday.

About a half-dozen other employees were in the building when the shooting began, Denton said. He described the shooting as work-related but didn’t describe a motive.

The shooting was reported at 3:30 a.m. Tuesday. Police tactical units surrounded the building and found Brown with a self-inflicted gunshot wound in a garage bay, Denton said. He was pronounced dead at a campus hospital several hours later.

Brown had been scheduled to work his normal third shift, Denton said.

One of the victims, building services manager Larry Wallington, 48, died at the scene. The other, operations shift leader Henry Butler, 60, was in stable condition at Ohio State University Medical Center, officials said.

Butler wrote a letter Feb. 11 recommending that Brown be terminated, according records released by the university. Even though colleagues had made a special effort to help Brown, he was not improving, the letter said.

Denton declined to say whether other employees were targeted. Police also didn’t describe the contents of Brown’s backpack.

The other employees in the building at the time have been offered grief counseling, Denton said.

“This is a tragic event, and our hearts go out to all of the families,” said Vernon Baisden, assistant vice president for public safety.

Police released two 911 calls. In one, a caller tells the dispatcher that he pulled into the garage and heard gunshots. He identifies Brown as the shooter and says Brown was in the process of being fired.

Brown, who was still on probation as a recent hire, had recently complained to a union representative that his supervisors were being unfair in their evaluation of him, said Richard Murray, president of Communications Workers of America Local 4501, which represents custodial workers at Ohio State.

“He was frustrated and upset, certainly. But he didn’t make any threats or anything,” Murray said. The union couldn’t do more with the case because Brown didn’t file a formal complaint, he said.

Brown was released from prison in 1984 after serving about five years on a charge of receiving stolen property, records show. The case file had been archived, and more information on the crime wasn’t immediately available, prisons spokeswoman Julie Walburn said.

On his job application, Brown checked “no” when asked whether he had ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor. A letter from Ohio State offering him the job said it was contingent on a satisfactory criminal background check.

Baisden declined to comment on whether the check was completed. Ohio State’s policy on background checks depends on the type of job position, he said.

Both shooting victims had worked for the university for about 10 years. Family members reached Tuesday declined to comment.

Classes went on as scheduled Tuesday. More than 55,000 students attend the main campus in Columbus. The maintenance building is next to a power plant and across the street from Ohio Stadium, home to the university’s football team.

Angry anti-gov’t writing linked to Pentagon gunman

by Liz De La Torre | March 7, 2010

From The Associated Press

WASHINGTON – A California man killed in a shootout with Pentagon police drove cross-country and arrived outside the military headquarters armed with two semiautomatic weapons, authorities said Friday. Internet postings linked to the lone shooting suspect reflect long-held anti-government anger.

John Patrick Bedell, 36, pulled a handgun at a Pentagon entrance, shot two police officers and was mortally wounded in an exchange of gunfire, authorities said. The two officers were hospitalized briefly with minor injuries.

A blog connected to Bedell via the social networking site LinkedIn outlines his growing distrust of the federal government. It gives credence to the idea that a criminal enterprise run out of the government could have staged the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

It was one of several conspiracy-laden Internet postings linked to Bedell to surface since Thursday night’s shooting.

Authorities said Bedell, of Hollister, Calif., had previous run-ins with the law. They found no known connection to terrorist groups or ideologies, investigators said.

The attack outside the massive Defense Department headquarters appeared to be a case of “a single individual who had issues,” Richard Keevill, chief of Pentagon police, said Friday.

Bedell died Thursday night from head wounds. Officials said the two wounded guards were officers Jeffery Amos and Marvin Carraway, both of whom returned fire. They said a third guard they did not name also fired.

Reached by telephone, Amos declined to answer any questions about the shooting but said he was doing OK.

“I’m fine and my family is fine,” he told The Associated Press. “I just thank the Lord that he shielded me when all of this took place.”

Bedell drove across country, including a stop at a motel in Reno, Nevada, law enforcement officials said.

It was not immediately clear how long he stayed there, or if it was anything more than a stopover on his way to a violent end.

Hints of a deep-seated mistrust of government emerged in Internet postings linked to Bedell. A blog connected to his LinkedIn profile contained a two-part treatise on big government, including its vulnerability to being controlled by a criminal organization.

“This organization, like so many murderous governments throughout history, would see the sacrifice of thousands of its citizens, in an event such as the September 11 attacks, as a small cost in order to perpetuate its barbaric control,” the blog post read.

Keevill described Bedell as “very well-educated” and well-dressed, wearing a suit that blended with commuters when he showed up at the Pentagon’s subway entrance about 6:40 p.m. But he was concealing two 9 millimeter semiautomatic weapons and “many magazines” of ammunition, Keevill said.

When Bedell seemed to reach into his pocket for worker identification, he was instead reaching for a gun, Keevill said.

“He just reached in his pocket, pulled out a gun and started shooting” at point-blank range, Keevill said. “He walked up very cool. He had no real emotion on his face.”

Although the gunfire near the subway exit in Arlington, Va., lasted less than a minute, Keevill said, numerous shots were fired.

There was more ammunition in Bedell’s car, which authorities found in a nearby mall parking garage.

“He came here from California,” Keevill said. “We were able to identify certain locations that he spent that last several weeks making his way from the West coast to the East coast.”

Keevill said he did not know what motivated the shooting: “I have no idea what his intentions were.”

On a Wikipedia page linked to Bedell, a user by the name JPatrickBedell revealed ill feelings toward the government and the armed forces and made reference to another conspiracy theory.

JPatrickBedell wrote that he was “determined to see that justice is served” in the death of Marine Col. James Sabow, who was found dead in the backyard of his California home in 1991. The death was ruled a suicide but the case has long been the source of theories of a cover up. Sabow’s family has maintained that he was murdered because he was about to expose covert military operations in Central America involving drug smuggling.

That posting can be linked to Bedell through court documents matching the shooter’s birth date but Keevill said Friday that authorities had not made “a final determination” that the shooter was the same Bedell.

On the Internet posting, user JPatrickBedell wrote the Sabow case was “a step toward establishing the truth of events such as the September 11 demolitions.”

That same posting railed against the government’s enforcement of marijuana laws and included links to the author’s 2006 court case in Orange County, Calif., involving allegations of cultivating marijuana and resisting a police officer.

The assault at the very threshold of the Pentagon — the U.S. capital’s ground zero on Sept. 11, 2001 — came four months after a deadly attack on the Army’s Fort Hood, Texas, post allegedly by a U.S. Army psychiatrist with radical Islamic leanings.

Hatred of the government motivated a man in Texas last month to fly a small plane into a building housing Internal Revenue Service offices, killing an IRS employee and himself.

The shooting resembled one in January in which a gunman walked up to the security entrance of a Las Vegas courthouse and opened fire with a shotgun, killing one officer and wounding another before being gunned down in return fire.

The subway station in Arlington is immediately adjacent to the Pentagon building, a five-sided northern Virginia colossus across the Potomac River from Washington. Since a redesign following the 2001 terrorist attack on the Pentagon, riders take a long escalator ride to the surface from the underground station, then pass through a security check outside the doors of the building, where further security awaits.

Keevill said the gunman gave no clue to the officers at the checkpoint about what he was going to do.

“There was no distress,” he said. “When he reached into his pocket, they assumed he was going to get a pass and he came up with a gun.”

Ronald Domingues, 74, who lives next door to Bedell’s parents in a gated golf course community in Hollister, said he doesn’t know the family well. But he said Bedell sometimes lived with his parents and struck him “like a normal young man.”

Alabama Professor had Violent History Prior to Shooting

by Liz De La Torre | February 23, 2010

“I am Dr. Amy Bishop,” the Harvard-educated neurobiologist would declare in justification to those who challenged her. Now, that name is synonymous with the shooter who unleashed volatile rampage Feb. 12 at the University of Alabama’s Huntville campus. In a tumultuous uproar, professor Amy Bishop opened fire on 6 colleagues, 3 of which were killed, during a faculty meeting. Colleagues have said that the blow-up came after she was denied tenure. “Obviously she was very distraught and concerned over that tenure,” her defense lawyer, Roy Miller, said. “It insulted her and slapped her in the face, and it’s probably tied in with the Harvard mentality. She brooded and brooded and brooded over it, and then, ‘bingo.’” In fact, people knew Bishop as being very zealous over her accomplished PhD in genetics and distinguished alma mater. One of her students, Caitlin Phillips, reiterated, “She loves Harvard. Everything went back to Harvard. It was, ‘When I was at Harvard, I got to do this thing. When I was at Harvard, I got to do that.’ She said, ‘This is a test I would give at Harvard. I’m not saying I’m stupid, but there’s a reason I’m not at Harvard.’” To some, her bragging of her illustrious educational career seemed like she thought she was superior to everyone else and, therefore, untouchable.

This police booking photograph released by the Huntsville (Ala.) Police Dept., on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2010, shows college professor Amy Bishop, charged with capital murder in the shooting deaths of three faculty members at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. (AP Photo/Huntsville Police Dept.)

Though not exactly invincible, Amy Bishop’s history of violence shows that she has still been cleared of many prior incidents. In 1986, she was trying to learn to shoot a gun her father had bought for protection when an “accidental discharge of the firearm” shot and killed her brother. Questions of the handling of the case have emerged in which no charges were brought against Bishop; she and her family were questioned 11 days after the shooting, and the police reports had been missing until recently. In another instance, Bishop was sought out when a double-pipe bomb was mailed to the home of one of her colleagues, Paul Rosenberg, in 1993. The bomb never went off, and, again, no one was charged. In an IHOP restaurant in 2002, Bishop yelled obscenities and clobbered a woman on the head for taking the last booster seat and refusing to give it to her. While she was initially charged with assault, battery, and disorderly conduct, the charges were dismissed six months later because she had “stayed out of trouble.” Although she was told to seek anger management after the 2002 incident, she never did.

Currently, Bishop is held without bond and charged with capital murder and 2 counts of attempted murder, qualifying for the death penalty. Her husband had, apparently, gone to a shooting range with his wife but didn’t know how she had obtained the gun or why she was so interested in target practice. He said she had not shown any signs of bizarre behavior in the days leading up to the shooting and denies his wife having any mental illness. Called a paranoid schizophrenic who “gets at issue with people that she doesn’t need to and obsesses on it” by Miller, Amy Bishop claims no recollection of the shooting but has said that she is “very sorry for what she’s done.” As for gearing up to use the insanity defense, “This is not a whodunit,” Miller continued. “This lady has committed this offense or offenses in front of the world. It gets to be a question in my mind of her mental capacity at the time, or her mental state at the time that these acts were committed.”

Ala. shooting suspect brilliant, but social misfit

by Liz De La Torre | February 20, 2010

From The Associated Press

BOSTON – Amy Bishop’s intelligence was never debatable. Even as a child, she didn’t hesitate to tell people when they were wrong. As she grew older, earned a Harvard Ph.D and claimed a genius IQ of 180, her brilliance could come with a bluntness, condescension and volatile self-righteousness.

It was all on display in 2002 when she yelled, “I am Dr. Amy Bishop!” as she belted a woman at a Massachusetts restaurant in a fight over a child’s booster seat.

Eight years later, the neurobiologist was denied tenure at an Alabama university, a failure her husband and her attorney said played a role in a shooting rampage that left three of Bishop’s colleagues dead and three others injured.

Bishop’s lawyer, Roy W. Miller, said his client was part of the “intelligentsia,” so smart she has trouble relating to the world.

“Her history speaks for itself,” he said. “Something’s wrong with this lady, OK?”

Bishop, 45, grew up in suburban Braintree, about eight miles south of Boston. Her mother, Judith, was active in local politics as one of 240 elected town meeting members. Her father, Samuel Bishop, was a Northeastern University art professor whose former students include David Bushell, a producer on films including the Academy Award-winning “Sling Blade.”

The Bishops were friendly and academically minded parents, often urging their children, both gifted students and violinists, to get their work done, Dan Shaw said. He was frequently over at their house as a child visiting the Bishops’ son, Seth.

Shaw didn’t know Amy Bishop well but remembered her “exceptional intelligence” and that she wasn’t shy about giving her opinion.

“If somebody was talking about something and she felt they were incorrect, she’d (say) to the person, this is this or that is that,” he said.

Shaw also recalled the funeral for Seth Bishop. The 18-year-old was killed in 1986 when his sister fired a shotgun blast into his chest, then fled. She was arrested at gunpoint but never charged, which was ruled accidental.

That killing is getting new scrutiny since the rampage at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Shaw, 40, remembered waiting in a line of mourners to give condolences to the family, and found Amy Bishop being propped up by her parents, weeping hysterically.

Shaw said no one in Braintree, where Shaw has lived most of his life, ever thought she meant to kill her brother, whom Bishop named her only son after. Shaw’s opinion hasn’t changed, despite implications by the current police chief that she was protected by a cover-up.

“The Bishops had no political clout in town,” Shaw said.

Amy Bishop was at Northeastern University when she shot her brother, and there was no interruption to her schooling. She graduated cum laude in 1988 with a biology degree, completing an honors thesis titled, “The effect of temperature on the recovery of sea lamprey from full spinal cord transection.”

She earned her Ph.D. in genetics from Harvard in 1993. It was also that year that she was questioned by police when a doctor she worked with at Children’s Hospital received a mail bomb that never went off. No one was ever charged in the case.

After earning her doctorate, she began an academic career that took her from Harvard to Huntsville. Bishop co-authored 17 published papers and also invented a new kind of cell incubator. In the meantime, she had three daughters and a son with her husband, James Anderson, whom she met at a gathering to play the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy game.

She moved in 2003 to Huntsville, where students gave her mixed reviews. Some found her obsessed with her Harvard pedigree, while others hailed her brilliance. Despite her prodigious intellect, she was denied tenure. Her job was about to end this semester.

Dr. Keith Ablow, a forensic psychiatrist from Tufts University in the Boston suburb of Medford, said the tenure denial could have been like “a kind of deadly assault on her ego” if her self-worth was wrapped up in her academic credentials.

“In that way, firing a gun at those people could feel like self-defense in a twisted way,” he said.

Bishop’s friend Rob Dinsmoor said she was frustrated over her tenure battle, but never let on how furious she was. There were other things she hid during their regular conversations, including that she once had a brother.

“I felt we could talk about anything,” Dinsmoor said. “But obviously there were things that she would not talk to me about.”

Dinsmoor said that amid her career problems, Bishop dreamed about a literary escape. One of her three unpublished novels, “Amazon Fever,” has pieces of her real life. One character was tortured by the death of his brother. Bishop takes some shots at Harvard, including the line, “At Harvard even the bar tenders are snotty.” Her main character, a female researcher, is frustrated about her stalled career and literally dreams about tenure.

“She felt warm, happy, fulfilled and yet she knew it was just a dream,” wrote Bishop, a second cousin of novelist John Irving.

Bishop is being held without bond on capital murder charges. She’s under suicide watch, and her attorney said she’s remorseful but can’t recall the shooting — which is exactly what she told police after she shot her brother.

Bishop’s husband said she calls to check on their children, but he can’t tell how’s she doing. There are other things he’s said he doesn’t know about his wife, including her birthday or how she got the gun she used recently at a practice range. It’s also beyond him how a brilliant woman with a violent past and uncertain future may have snapped.

“She basically loved everyone,” Anderson said. “That’s why I can’t explain anything. I don’t know what happened.”

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