Top News Story! Assassination!
Posted: 11/17/2011 01:04 PM PST
PITTSBURGH, PA — An Idaho man accused of firing two shots at the White House last week has been charged with attempting to assassinate President Barack Obama or his staff. Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez, of Idaho Falls, Idaho, made his first court appearance before a federal magistrate in Pittsburgh on Thursday, one day after he was arrested at a western Pennsylvania hotel. He will be taken back from a federal court in Pittsburgh to face the charges in Washington, D.C. Ortega sat quietly as the hearing began, his hands free but his feet shackled. The 21-year-old said only, “Yes, ma’am” when he was asked if he understood that he would be going back to Washington to face the charge.
Ortega was arrested Wednesday afternoon at a hotel near Indiana, Pa., about 55 miles east of Pittsburgh, after a desk clerk recognized his picture. He had been reported missing Oct. 31 by his family. Ortega will remain in federal custody at least until a magistrate in Washington can determine if he should remain jailed until his trial on the charge, which carries up to life in prison.
Authorities said a man clad in black who was obsessed with Obama pulled his car within view of the White House on Friday night and fired shots from an assault rifle, cracking a window of the first family’s living quarters while the president was away. Soon after, U.S. Park Police found an abandoned vehicle, with an assault rifle inside it, near a bridge leading out of the nation’s capital to Virginia. The car led investigators to Ortega. The FBI took custody of Ortega’s car Thursday afternoon to continue the process of reviewing evidence, said Lindsay Godwin, a spokeswoman for the FBI’s Washington field office.
Posted: Monday, November 7, 2011 12:18 PM PDT
Authorities plan to examine the body Monday of an 18-year-old man who was found dead in a bed at a UCLA fraternity house. Police believe drugs and alcohol were involved in the death of Glen Parrish Jr. of Manhattan Beach, who was found dead at the Theta Chi house in the 600 block of Gayley avenue, the Daily Bruin reported. L.A. County Coroner spokeswoman Lt. Cheryl MacWillie said Parrish was visiting the UCLA campus. "There’s nothing that suggests a suicide," she said, declining to elaborate. Parrish was a Arizona State University student, the Bruin reported.
Cal State University
Posted: Sunday, November 6, 2011 - Updated: Monday, November 7, 2011, 10:53 AM
Stephen Kinzey chatted with his students about being a father and a devoted Catholic. He used his experience riding his Harley-Davidson to teach them about motion and physiology. He also conducted research on the effects of video games on the health of children. That was the tenured kinesiology professor at Cal State San Bernardino, Stephen Kinzey. However, police say they know of another Stephen Kinzey, one who goes by the nickname "Skinz" and presides over an outlaw motorcycle gang. Until his arrest, Kinzey's worst run-in with police was for a traffic ticket in Bullhead City. Kinzey appears to have cultivated a double life for years.
In September, Kinzey, 45, was charged with drug dealing, running a street gang and possessing illegal firearms. His girlfriend, former Cal State San Bernardino student Holly Robinson, is accused of helping him run a handful of meth dealers in what law enforcement officials saw as a budding, small-time drug operation. When police raided Kinzey's house in August, they found a pound of meth, loaded handguns and rifles and "cuts" — biker leathers.
Skinz is the person who wore leathers and ran the local Devils Diciples motorcycle gang. He stashed guns and bricks of meth inside his tidy suburban Highland home, police say. He fired off text messages to dealers: "Bring whatever cabbage u got for my soup cuz ingredients are low."
Skinz, however, remains a mystery to Kinzey's friends and students. Even to his family. "This has to have an explanation. He's a PhD," his father, Hank Kinzey, said shortly after his son was implicated. "Something knocked him off course." While chairing the Kinesiology Department's curriculum committee, Kinzey was selling Devils Diciples T-shirts on E-Bay. He created two distinct Twitter personas. One is for Dr. Stephen J. Kinzey (pictured above, center) featuring a profile picture of the human torso, used to chat with exercise physiology students. The other is for "skinz DDMC So Cal," a private account with a picture of him tearing down the road on his Harley.
The day his house was raided, Kinzey was in Nebraska, on his way home after visiting his teenage daughter in Michigan, according to friends and family. "Skinzddmc," one of Kinzey's Web handles, posted You Tube videos of his trip home while police were searching for him. Investigators aren't sure what might have tempted Kinzey, if he indeed crossed over from being a weekend rider to being a hard-core outlaw biker. "He wasn't doing it for the profit. What was he doing it for? To be cool? I don't know. He has a job. He's a tenured professor," said San Bernardino County Deputy Dist. Atty. Steven Sanchez, who heads the gang unit. "That's how a lot of guys move up. I can bring money into the club. I can increase our reputation."
The evidence needed for a search warrant was obtained when authorities tapped Kinzey's cellphone. They said they captured his text message chatter with dealers and his supplier, leading them to Kinzey's suspected web of street dealers in Mentone, Highland and San Bernardino.
Kinzey's romance with biker gangs started while he was teaching at the University of Mississippi in 1997, when he joined the local chapter of the Boozefighters Motorcycle Club just as he was getting a divorce, court records show. Its consummation occurred a little more than a decade ago, when he moved to San Bernardino County, birthplace of the Hells Angels and Vagos motorcycle gangs. Kinzey started two local motorcycle clubs in Southern California, but moved on or was forced out of both, before forming the mountain chapter of the Devils Diciples. It was a band of about six members from the San Bernardino Mountains and neighboring towns.
There were recent signs of trouble. One Diciples member stabbed another biker last November outside of Chad's Place in Big Bear, a popular biker hangout. Three others have been charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent to sell. Along with Kinzey, local Diciples members declined to comment for this article. But two people familiar with the bikers, who know Kinzey personally, said others in the chapter did not sanction a drug ring.
The Devils Diciples started in Fontana in 1967 but is now headquartered in Detroit, Kinzey's hometown. The club is believed to have about 150 members nationwide, and its website explicitly states that it is a motorcycle enthusiasts' organization and "NOT a criminal organization." In Southern California, the North Hollywood chapter is the largest, with smaller branches in Fontana, Montclair and the San Bernardino Mountains. "Diciples" was purposely misspelled to distance the club from any religious affiliation. "They're not as prominent as other biker gangs, but don't let that fool you. They're just as active," said Sheriff's Det. Jason Rosenbaum, who led the investigation against Kinzey.The U.S. Justice Department charged the club's former national president, Jeff Garvin "Fat Dog" Smith, with federal drug trafficking charges in 2009, but months later it quietly dropped charges against him and 17 other Diciples members.
May 30, 2011
May 26, 2011
Actress Lindsay Lohan turned herself in to Los Angeles jail authorities early on Thursday and has begun serving a sentence for jewelery theft under house arrest, officials said. Lohan, 24, turned up at a Los Angeles jail at 5:00 am on Thursday (local time), according to official records.
Los Angeles Sheriff's department spokesman Steve Whitmore told media sources she was deemed eligible for home confinement, fitted with an electronic monitoring ankle bracelet and released to her home within an hour. "She is now confined to the interior premises of her home at all times," Mr Whitmore told People.
Lohan's lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment.
The Mean Girls actress was sentenced two weeks ago to four months in jail and 480 hours of community service after pleading no contest to stealing a $US2,500 gold necklace from a shop in January.
It was not immediately clear how much time she would be confined to house arrest. But Mr Whitmore said earlier this month she would likely serve 16-17 days at home under programs for non-violent offenders, good behaviour and because of overcrowding in the city's jails.
Lohan has already started her community service at a women's jail.
Lohan has been in and out of jail and drug and alcohol rehab for the past four years following a 2007 arrest for drunken driving and cocaine possession.
Her troubles have derailed her once-promising Hollywood career, but she was cast in April in an upcoming movie about New York crime boss John Gotti, alongside actors Al Pacino and John Travolta.
Incompetent for Justice!
Updated: 05/26/2011 12:04:12 PM PDT
“Thank you for the freak show. She died in front of me.”
-- Jared Lee Loughner, 21, suspect in the Tucson shooting rampage that wounded U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and killed 8 others at his competency hearing.
Jared Lee Loughner: Photo provided by the Pima County Sheriff's Forensic Unit.
A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the suspect in the Tucson shooting rampage that wounded U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is mentally incompetent to stand trial, putting the criminal case against him on hold indefinitely. The decision by U.S. District Judge Larry Burns means Jared Lee Loughner, 21, will be sent to a federal facility for up to four months in a bid to restore his competency.
Loughner, dressed in a khaki prison suit and sporting bushy, reddish sideburns, was removed from the hearing after an outburst and had to watch part of the proceeding on a TV screen in another room. Burns had Loughner escorted from the courtroom after Loughner lowered his head and said what sounded like: “Thank you for the freak show. She died in front of me.” His head was inches from the table in front of him.
Loughner was later brought back into the courtroom, and the judged told him he had a right to watch the hearing. Burns asked Loughner if he wanted to stay in the courtroom and behave or view the proceeding on a screen in another room.
Loughner responded: “I want to watch the TV screen.”
At least two survivors of the Jan. 8 attack looked on: Giffords aide Pam Simon, who was shot in the chest and right wrist; and retired Army Col. Bill Badger, who is credited with helping subdue Loughner after a bullet grazed the back of Badger’s head.
The ruling came after Loughner spent five weeks in March and April at a federal facility in Springfield, Mo., where he was examined by two court-appointed mental health professionals. The two were asked to determine whether Loughner understands the consequences of the case against him.
The competency reports by psychologist Christina Pietz and psychiatrist Matthew Carroll haven’t been publicly released.
Loughner has pleaded not guilty to 49 federal charges stemming from the Jan. 8 shooting at a meet-and-greet event that wounded Giffords and 12 others and killed six people, including a 9-year-old girl and a federal judge.
Prosecutors had asked for the mental exam, citing a YouTube video in which they believe a hooded Loughner wore garbage bags and burned an American flag.
The judge gave the two mental health professionals access to Loughner’s health records from his pediatrician, a behavioral health hospital that treated him for extreme intoxication in May 2006 and an urgent care center where he was treated in 2004 for unknown reasons.
Loughner will be sent to a federal facility for a maximum of four months to see if his competency can be restored. If he’s later determined to be competent, the case against him will resume.
If he isn’t deemed competent at the end of his treatment, his stay at the facility can be extended. There are no limits on the number of times such extensions can be granted.
If doctors conclude they can’t restore his mental competency, the judge would have to decide whether the suspect can be restored. If the judge decides there’s no likelihood of restoration, the judge can dismiss the charges against him. In that case, state and federal authorities can petition to have him civilly committed and could seek to extend that commitment repeatedly, said Heather Williams, a federal public defender in Tucson who isn’t involved in the Loughner case.
The doctors who examined Loughner were ordered not to focus on his sanity at the time of the shooting.
Loughner’s lawyers haven’t said whether they intend to present an insanity defense. But they noted in court filings that his mental condition will likely be a central issue at trial and described him as a “gravely mentally ill man.”
January 24, 2011
January 11, 2011
Jared Lee Loughner: Photo provided by the Pima County Sheriff's Forensic Unit.
Authorities released a chilling mug shot of Loughner - sporting a shaved head and little smirk - that was taken shortly after shooting 20 innocent people in cold blood. Loughner - whose rampage killed six - was hit with federal charges for trying to assassinate Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, a 40-year-old Democrat, murdering Federal Judge John Roll and Giffords' aide Gabe Zimmerman, and wounding two other congressional staffers. Federal Magistrate Judge Lawrence Anderson ordered Loughner back to court Jan. 24, 2011 when a new judge will be appointed to hear the case. No Arizona judge would take the case because all of them knew Roll.
Loughner was assigned one of the best public defenders in the land: San Diego lawyer Judy Clarke, who specializes in federal death penalty cases. She helped defend Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui and Olympics bomber Eric Rudolph. The Justice Department has not said if it will seek the death penalty for Loughner.
We do not yet know what prompted 22-year-old accused gunman Jared Loughner to allegedly shoot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and others, including a child and federal judge who died from their wounds. But critics of Sarah Palin have already drawn a link between the shooting and the fact that the former Alaska governor put Giffords on a "target list" of lawmakers Palin wanted to see unseated in the midterm elections. Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik has been both lauded and lambasted for linking Saturday's mass shooting at an event for US Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D) to a climate of "prejudice and bigotry" in Arizona and to political "vitriol" across the country. In March 2010, Palin released a map featuring 20 House Democrats that used crosshairs images to show their districts. (You can see it here.) Critics suggested at the time that she was inciting violence by using the crosshairs imagery and for later writing on Twitter to her supporters, "'Don't Retreat, Instead - RELOAD!'"
Back in June 2010, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords's (D-AZ) Republican opponent Jesse Kelly had an event at which voters could shoot an assault rifle with the candidate, promoted as thus: "Get on Target for Victory in November Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly[.]" Loughner, who shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), a federal judge and 18 other people Saturday may or may not have had a coherent political philosophy or a rational motive. Dean Allen, a conservative candidate for state office in South Carolina threw a "machine gun social" in September, drawing 500 people for the chance to win a $700 AK-47 semiautomatic rifle. All attendees got to shoot 20 rounds from a machine gun of their choice. When Joe Manchin was running for senator from West Virginia back in October, he released an ad in which he shoots the climate change bill with a rifle.
"I'll take dead aim at the cap-and-trade bill, because it's bad for West Virginia," he said. Manchin won and was sworn in last week. In the wake of the Giffords shooting, he released a statement defending the ad.
"I have never targeted an individual, and I never would," he said. "The act of a deranged madman who commits a horrific act should not and cannot be confused with a metaphor about a piece of legislation."
Bishop Not Indicted!
September 30, 2010Update!
BOSTON — A former professor accused of killing three colleagues this year and her brother in 1986 won't be charged in an attempted mail-bombing in Massachusetts.
Amy Bishop and her husband were questioned in the 1993 mailing of two pipe bombs to Dr. Paul Rosenberg, but never charged. U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz reviewed the investigation after Bishop was charged with the shootings at the University of Alabama-Huntsville in February.
Rosenberg received the pipe bombs shortly after Bishop left a job as a researcher at Children's Hospital in Boston, partly due to a poor review by Rosenberg. The bombs did not detonate.
On Thursday, Ortiz announced her office's review didn't uncover enough evidence to charge anyone. She said the investigation is closed.
In June, Bishop was indicted in the 1986 shooting death of her brother, Seth.
June 16, 2010
"It didn't happen. There's no way. ... They are still alive."
Prof. Amy Bishop during her arrest on February 12, 2010 for the shooting of six UAH employees, which left three dead.
April 15, 2010Update!
QUINCY, Mass. (AP) — The top assistant prosecutor when Amy Bishop killed her brother in 1986 criticized local police Thursday as a judge wrapped up an inquest into the fatal shooting. John Kivlan was expected to be one of the final witnesses to testify at the closed-door inquest to determine if the shooting of Seth Bishop was intentional. It originally was ruled an accident. As he arrived at Quincy District Court on Thursday, Kivlan repeated his earlier criticism of Braintree police. He said police never told the district attorney's office that after she shot her brother, Bishop tried to commandeer a getaway car at gunpoint and refused to drop her gun until police ordered her to do so repeatedly.
Kivlan said he hopes the inquest will answer questions, including why "significant evidence wasn't reported to our office and state police." Kivlan said he and U.S. Rep. William Delahunt — who was then the top prosecutor in Norfolk County — believe the inquest is a way to get at the truth. "It's important that the court seek the truth about what happened on the afternoon of Dec. 6, 1986," he said. It was not immediately clear whether Delahunt will testify or give a statement to Judge Mark Coven, who is conducting the inquest. The inquest, which began Tuesday, has included testimony from 19 witnesses, including Bishop's father, Samuel, and mother, Judith, who testified twice. Judith Bishop was the only eyewitness to the shooting and told police in 1986 that her daughter accidentally shot Seth while trying to unload their Samuel Bishop's shotgun. She did not comment to reporters after her testimony.
On Tuesday, Kenneth Brady, a retired Braintree police officer, said he drove Judith Bishop to the police station where Amy Bishop was taken after being arrested. Brady said Judith Bishop asked to see the police chief, John Polio. A short time later, officers were told not to book Bishop and to release her to her parents, Brady said. Also testifying during the inquest were two men who told police they were threatened at gunpoint by Bishop after she shot her brother.
Tom Pettigrew and Jeff Doyle, who worked in a Braintree car dealership auto body shop, told police Bishop pointed the shotgun at them and demanded a getaway car. Pettigrew said he and Doyle fled, then saw Bishop trying car door handles in the parking lot. He said they saw Bishop being arrested by police a short time later.
Norfolk District Attorney William Keating called for the inquest after Bishop was charged in the Alabama killings. The judge is expected to issue a report and recommendations to prosecutors. Keating could use the report to seek a grand jury indictment against Bishop or to say there is not enough evidence to prosecute her in her brother's death. Keating has said she should have been charged with weapons violations for her actions after her brother's killing. The statute of limitations has already run on any charge except murder.
April 14, 2010Update!
QUINCY, Mass. — Two men who say they were threatened at gunpoint by Alabama professor Amy Bishop after she shot her teenage brother dead in 1986 have testified at a judicial inquest into the suburban Boston killing. Tom Pettigrew and Jeff Doyle were working in a Braintree, Mass., auto body shop the day Bishop shot her brother. They testified Wednesday on the second day of the closed-door inquest and spoke outside court after. Police originally ruled the brother's shooting accidental. The case has been scrutinized since Bishop was charged with fatally shooting three colleagues at the University of Alabama-Huntsville in February. Bishop has maintained the faculty shooting "didn't happen." Pettigrew says Bishop pointed a shotgun at him and Doyle and demanded a getaway car following her brother's shooting. Doyle says he hopes the inquest finds "more answers."
February 16, 2010
Weeks before Alabama college professor Amy Bishop allegedly murdered three colleagues during a faculty meeting, she went to a shooting range to practice her aim, according to Bishop's husband. Bishop's husband said nothing unusual happened on their trip to the shooting range, and that she didn't reveal why she took an interest in target practice. Nothing in her behavior in the days before the shooting foreshadowed the violence last week, either, he said. "She was just a normal professor," he said. After finding a set of missing police records about the death of Bishop's brother, Seth Bishop, the Norfolk County district attorney released a statement saying there had been probable cause to charge Amy Bishop with assault with a dangerous weapon, carrying a dangerous weapon and unlawful possession of ammunition.
Also Today, the media reported that Bishop was charged with assault in 2002 after punching a woman in the head at an International House of Pancakes in Peabody, Mass. According to a police report, Bishop was angry that the woman had taken the last booster seat in the restaurant, which Bishop wanted for one of her children, The media said. It added that Bishop was sentenced to probation and that prosecutors recommended she take anger management classes, though it is not clear whether she attended those classes.
The former Braintree police chief who defended the decision not to charge accused college killer Amy Bishop for the 1986 shooting death of her brother is now having second thoughts. John Polio, 87, said this morning the state police report on the 1986 incident that killed Seth Bishop was “deficient.” The shooting was ultimately ruled an accident. “There’s a myriad of questions that come to mind,” said Polio today.
“If this report was in my hand in 1986, as a I believe it should have been, then I would have had Capt. (Theodore) Buker, who was in charge of the investigation, contact the state police with a request from me for additional information,” he said. He added Buker has since died.
He also said he never heard Tom Pettigrew’s account of being held at gunpoint by Bishop at a car dealership after the shooting until news reports about his ordeal emerged in recent days. “Why wouldn’t someone who was assaulted with a shotgun and told to put their hands up not report it? If they did report it where is it?” Polio said. As for his memory of any political pressure to move the case along, Polio said he has no knowledge of any requests faced by his officers to keep quiet or lie about what happened to state police investigators. He also downplayed the stature of Bishop’s mother.
"I don’t know if you could call her influential. She was fairly well known," he said.
February 14, 2010
The 1993 Harvard Bombing Attempt
The professor who is accused of killing three colleagues at the University of Alabama on Friday was a suspect in the attempted mail bombing of a Harvard Medical School professor in 1993, a law enforcement official said today. Amy Bishop (pictured left) and her husband, James Anderson, were questioned after a package containing two bombs was sent to the Newton home of Dr. Paul Rosenberg, a professor and doctor at Boston's Children's Hospital. It was the second startling revelation in two days about the past of Bishop, who is accused of fatally shooting three colleagues and wounding three others Friday afternoon at a faculty meeting on the University of Alabama's Huntsville, Ala. campus. A Massachusetts police chief revealed Saturday that Bishop had fatally shot her brother in 1986.
Rosenberg was opening mail, which had been set aside by a cat-sitter, when he returned from a Caribbean vacation on Dec. 19, 1993, according to Globe reports at the time. Opening a long, thin package addressed to "Mr. Paul Rosenberg M.D.," he saw wires and a cylinder inside. The package contained two 6-inch pipe bombs connected to two nine-volt batteries. He and his wife ran from the house and called police.
In March 1994, the media reported that federal investigators had identified a prime suspect in the case. But the article did not name the suspect. A law enforcement official said today that the investigation by the US Postal Service and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms focused on Bishop, a Harvard postdoctoral fellow who was working in the human biochemstry lab at Children's Hospital at the time, and her husband, Anderson.
Bishop surfaced as a suspect because she was allegedly concerned that she was going to receive a negative evaluation from Rosenberg on her doctorate work, the official said. The official said investigators believed she had a motive to target Rosenberg and were concerned that she had a history of violence, given that she had shot her brother to death in 1986. Investigators conducted a search of the home where Bishop and Anderson were living and questioned the couple, the official said. Anderson was questioned about whether he had purchased any of the components used to make the bombs, the official said. During a search of Bishop's computer, authorities found a draft of a novel that Bishop was writing about a female scientist who had killed her brother and was hoping to make amends by becoming a great scientist, according to a person who was briefed on the investigation and spoke to the media on the condition of anonymity.
The US attorney's office in Boston did not seek any charges against Bishop or Anderson, and no one was ever charged with mailing the bombs to Rosenberg. Federal prosecutors did not immediately return calls today. Anderson today confirmed that he and his wife had been questioned in the attempted bombing, but said that they had been cleared, the New York Times reported on its website. “We were not suspects,” he said. “They questioned everybody that ever knew this guy.” “That was a disaster,” he said of the investigation. “That was a mess. In my files I have a letter from the ATF saying, ‘You are hereby cleared in this incident. You are no longer a subject of the investigation.’”
At his home, Rosenberg declined to comment today and referred questions to Children's Hospital administrators. Hospital officials said information on Bishop and the case was not immediately available and declined further comment. Sylvia Fluckiger, a lab technician who worked with Bishop at the time, said Bishop had been in a dispute with Rosenberg shortly before the bombs were discovered. Shortly after the attempted bombing, Fluckiger said, Bishop told her she had been questioned by police. According to Fluckiger, Bishop said police asked her if she had ever taken stamps off an envelope that had been mailed to her and put them on something else. "She said it with a smirk on her face,'' said Fluckiger. "We knew she had a beef with Paul Rosenberg. And we really thought it was a really unbelievable coincidence that he would get those bombs."
Sergeant Mark Roberts, a spokesman for the Huntsville Police, said today that police in Alabama had been informed that Bishop was a suspect in the 1993 mail bombing case. "Presently, we are trying to confirm it through law enforcement resources,'' he said. Robert's said the crime scene at the university was so large -- the building is some three acres -- that detectives had just finished gathering all the evidence in the shootings. "What we're doing now, they finally got all the evidence and they're starting to go through it,'' he said.
Bishop, 44, a professor at the University of Alabama in Huntsville since 2003, allegedly opened fire during a faculty meeting Friday, killing three colleagues and wounding three others, reportedly after learning at the meeting that she was being denied tenure. Anderson was detained and questioned by police but has not been charged. On Saturday, the police chief in Braintree confirmed that Bishop had fatally shot her brother in the family home in December 1986. Chief Paul Frazier raised questions about the circumstances of the shooting and the lack of records on the case, but the Norfolk County district attorney's office released a State Police investigation report that concluded that the shooting was an accident.
February 13, 2010
C.J. Reporting from Huntsville, Ala. - In this Southern city famed for its science and technology, residents are coming to grips with perhaps the most unsettling fact in Friday's campus shooting: The suspect was not a student but a professor. According to her campus biography, Professor Amy Bishop holds a Ph.D in genetics from Harvard University. In 2008, UAH President David Williams predicted that one of her cell-research advances would "change the way biological and medical research is conducted."
She is accused of killing three of her colleagues and injuring three more during a faculty meeting. Bishop, 45, a neurobiologist and assistant professor at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, was arrested shortly after the incident and charged with capital murder. A bigger bombshell was dropped the next day, Saturday: Professor Bishop had fatally shot her own brother in 1986. In a news conference today, Huntsville Police Chief Henry Reyes declined to discuss a motive for the shootings.
Today students struggled to process the news of her arrest on this historically low-key campus best known for churning out engineers. LaMardra Moore, a nursing graduate student who took an anatomy and physiology class with Bishop as an undergraduate, said she was shocked that police had arrested a teacher -- one of "the people you're supposed to go and confide in." Bishop was apparently not happy with the school: In recent months, she had been denied a tenured faculty position, said college spokesman Ray Garner. Dick Reeves, chairman of a company that plans to market one of Bishop's innovations, said she was upset by the slight.
Today the story took an odd twist when Braintree, Mass., Police Chief Paul Frazier announced that Bishop had shot and killed her brother in December 1986 after an argument. The police report of the incident has gone missing, but the officer who wrote it up recalled that Bishop was arrested after fleeing the scene with a shotgun, Frazier said in a statement. However, Bishop was released when the booking officer received a call from then-Chief John Polio, or a captain calling on the chief's behalf, Frazier said. Late today, the Norfolk County district attorney's office in Massachusetts released a state police report of the incident from its archives. It states that Bishop and her mother told police the shooting was an accident that occurred when Bishop was trying to unload the shotgun.
In 2003, it was apparently tenure that was a key prize for Bishop when she and her family moved from Massachusetts to Alabama. Neighbor Bill Armstrong said Bishop told him that "you almost had to win a Nobel Prize to get tenure at Harvard." Bishop, her four children, and her husband, Jim Anderson -- a sometime-collaborator in her research -- settled in a two-story house about 12 miles from campus. They were outspoken Northeastern liberals whose political yard signs stood out a little on their suburban lot facing a cul-de-sac called Scarlett O'Hara Circle. Some neighbors found them to be friendly. Others clashed. Armstrong said that Bishop passed around a petition to get another neighbor's dogs to quiet down. Armstrong signed the petition; he said Bishop and the dogs' owner eventually ended up in court. "She really got intense about getting that situation done," he said. She had an intense personality in general, he said.
On campus, Bishop taught both introductory and advanced classes. Nursing student Moore recalled that Bishop seemed passionate about science, though somewhat awkward socially. She also remembers grueling tests. "She was very interested in details," Moore said. "I heard she was getting tougher over the years, too."
On Friday, Bishop was one of about a dozen members of the biology department who were meeting in a conference room at around 4 p.m. According to police, she produced a 9-millimeter handgun and began shooting. Gopi Podila, the department chairman, was killed, as were professors Maria Davis and Adriel Johnson. Three others were hospitalized; two of them are critical condition, and one has been released. Police said they arrested Bishop outside the building; she did not resist.
The 1986 Killing of Seth Bishop
After Bishop allegedly stormed into a biology faculty meeting on the University of Alabama campus, shot three faculty members to death and injured three more, police are questioning whether they got the killing of Seth Bishop right in Boston more than 20 years ago. Police at the time sent the case to the District Attorney's office who believed the core of the story: "that it was an accident," called it an accident and filed it away.
Amy Bishop was 19 years old back in 1986 when she lived in Braintree Massachusetts with her family. One fact that is not in dispute is that on Dec. 6 of that year, Bishop fatally shot her 18-year-old brother, Seth, in the abdomen. The shooting took place in front of her mother and a subsequent police report concluded that the shooting was accidental. The report says that Bishop came downstairs to where her mother and brother were to get her mother’s help in unloading the weapon. While attempting to unload it, the gun went off and killed Seth, an accomplished violinist.
But what really happened that day 24 years ago had been the subject of a controversy that has been reignited in light of the new allegations against Bishop. Braintree’s current police chief, Paul Frazier, who was a member of the force in 1986 told the Boston Globe that the accidental discharge of the gun was not the way officers who appeared at the scene reported it. According to them, three shots were fired from Bishop’s weapon; one hit the ceiling, another went into the wall and the third killed Seth. Seth was supposedly shot after an argument with his sister. It was further noted that after killing Seth, Bishop ran into the street and pointed the gun at a passing motorist. This was observed by police who were in the area on other business and they immediately arrested Bishop and took her at the station. The then-police chief, John Polio, ordered Bishop to be released into the custody of her mother and a few months later, the shooting was ruled accidental. Polio, now 87, denies this claim and maintains that the 1986 shooting was accidental.
Police & Witness Accounts of the 1986 Killing of Seth Bishop
In all, three shots were fired: Braintree police Chief Paul Frazier said she shot once into a wall, then shot her brother, then fired a third time into the ceiling. 46 minutes later, Seth Bishop, a promising young engineering student and violinist, was dead, according to the police reports. He was 18. There are differing accounts, according to media reports of Bishop's actions leading up to and after the shooting and there are disturbing questions as to why the police file of the case is now missing.
At the time, Braintree Police Chief John Polio called the incident an accident. A 1987 report the media obtained from the Norfolk County's District Attorney's office said that after Bishop had an argument with her father she went to her parents' room to learn to load the family's shotgun. The weapon fired once in the bedroom. She then went downstairs, the report says, and accidentally shot her brother while her mother looked on. Then she ran out of the house, 12-gauge shotgun in hand.
Tom Pettigrew, 45, of Quincy, said he was a mechanic at Dave Dinger Ford on a Saturday afternoon in 1986 when he and a coworker saw a woman, later identified as Bishop, with a shotgun enter the shop. When Pettigrew went to investigate, he said he soon found himself face-to-face with Bishop, 19, with a gun pressed to his chest. "She was like, 'Hands up!' So, of course, right away, we both put our hands up. And she was like, 'I need a car,'" he said. Pettigrew said Bishop claimed she had been in a fight with her husband, feared for her life and needed a getaway car. Pettigrew and his coworker told Bishop that the cars in the shop were new and locked, and that his car was up on a lift with its wheels off.
Still gripping the shotgun, a nervous and agitated Bishop walked through the dealer's inventory looking for an unlocked car, Pettigrew recalled. A few minutes later, police arrived at the lot and cuffed her. Bishop was arrested and taken to the station. But because Bishop was so emotionally distraught, she was released hours later. Police questioned family members 11 days after the shooting and found discrepancies in their versions of events. Amy Bishop's mother said that Amy had asked her for help in unloading the gun and accidentally shot her brother. Amy Bishop herself said that she had asked her brother not her mother for help. He told her to point the gun high, she said. Someone said something. She spun around, and accidentally shot her brother who was walking across the kitchen.
"I don’t want to use the word 'coverup,'" Braintree's current police chief, Paul H. Frazier told the media. "I don’t know what the thought process was of the police chief at the time." Frazier believes that Amy Bishop got in a fight her brother, not her father. He also doesn't understand why the original police report has been missing since 1988. He told the media he was a patrolman at the time, but got his account from an officer who was at the scene. Former chief Polio called the idea that he covered anything up a "joke," according to the media. It's not yet clear if Massachusetts police will re-open the old case.
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