Monday, February 15, 2010
Professor Accused in Recent Shootings Shot Brother Dead in 1980s, Was Suspect in Bomb Plot in 90s'; No Prosecution ever had against this "Privlidged Phew." Will poor little rich girl Amy get her just deserts this time? Dont she L@@K the picture of the neat, well-kept & intelligent wacko?
AOL News / AP
(Feb. 14) -- The college professor and mother of four who is charged with opening fire on a group of colleagues at the University of Alabama Friday was also eyed as a suspect in the attempted mail bombing of a Harvard professor 17 years ago.
Paul Rosenberg, a medical school professor and doctor at Boston Children's Hospital, was opening mail after returning from vacation in 1993 when he spotted wires and a cylinder inside a package addressed to him, according to the Boston Globe. Two pipe bombs were stuffed inside the package.
A federal investigation focused on Amy Bishop, a postdoctoral fellow who was then working at the Children's Hospital, as a suspect, a law enforcement official told the newspaper.
Bishop, and her husband, Jeff Anderson, were both questioned in the case. Officials said Bishop had a motive, as Rosenberg was allegedly going to give her a negative review on her doctorate work.
Authorities have refused to discuss a motive in Friday's shooting that left three of Bishop's colleagues dead, but the neurobiologist was reportedly denied tenure -- a type of job-for-life security afforded academics -- by the University of Alabama in Huntsville and was vocal in her opposition to the decision, as well as her plan to appeal.
Officials never filed any charges against Bishop related to the mail bombs, but were also concerned about a violent incident in her past.
In 1986, Bishop shot and killed her 18-year-old brother with a shotgun at their Braintree, Mass., home. She told police at the time that she had been trying to learn how to use the gun, which her father had bought for protection, when it accidentally discharged. 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.
Authorities released her and said the episode was a tragic accident. She was never charged, though Frazier on Saturday questioned how the investigation was handled.
Some of Bishop's colleagues, including William Setzer, chairman of the department of chemistry, told The Associated Press they did not know about her brother's death.
Despite her history, relatives and students said Bishop had never suggested she might become violent, even with the looming loss of her teaching post.
Everyone from family and friends to her students at the University of Alabama in Huntsville said the intelligent and at times awkward teacher seemed normal in the hours before police say she opened fire in a faculty meeting Friday afternoon, leaving three dead and another three wounded.
Jim Anderson - the father of Bishop's husband - told The Associated Press on Sunday his son had no idea Bishop was planning the bloodshed she's accused of.
"He knew nothing. He didn't know anything," the father said. He said that the police had spoken with his son at length and that "they are doing a good job."
Police say the gun Bishop's accused of using in the Alabama shooting wasn't registered, and investigators don't know how or where she got it.
Bishop was arrested soon after the shooting and charged with capital murder. Other charges are pending. Her husband was detained and questioned by police but has not been charged.
Anderson told The Chronicle of Higher Education that he dropped his wife at the faculty meeting where the biology professor allegedly gunned down her colleagues. Bishop called her husband less than an hour later and asked to be picked up, but mentioned nothing of the shooting, Anderson said. By the time Anderson arrived to campus, his wife was in police custody.
Anderson told The Chronicle of Higher Education that he did not know his wife had a gun when he dropped her off and he did not know what specifically led to the shooting. Anderson also said he knew his wife felt the university's decision to deny her tenure was not fair, and she planned to appeal the decision to the university's Board of Trustees.
In the days and hours before the shooting, Bishop's friends, colleagues and students said she was acting like the intelligent - but odd - professor they knew.
UAH student Andrew Cole was in Bishop's anatomy class Friday morning and said she seemed perfectly normal. Kourtney Lattimore, 19, a sophomore studying nursing who had Bishop for anatomy and physiology courses, said she didn't notice anything out of the ordinary.
"She was fine. It was a normal day," Lattimore said.
Bishop had worked closely for three years with Dick Reeves, who had been CEO of BizTech, which had been working with her to market a cell incubator she invented to replace traditional equipment used in live cell cultures. Bishop often mentioned the issue of tenure in their discussions, Reeves said.
"It was important to her," he said.
However, the two had spoken as early as Wednesday, and Reeves said she showed no signs of distress.
Killed in Friday's shooting were Gopi K. Podila, the chairman of the Department of Biological Sciences, and professors Adriel Johnson and Maria Ragland Davis. Three people were wounded. Two of them - Joseph Leahy and staffer Stephanie Monticciolo - were in critical condition early Sunday. The third, Luis Cruz-Vera, had been released from the hospital.
Sammie Lee Davis, Davis' husband, said in a brief phone interview that he was told a faculty member got angry while discussing tenure at the meeting and started shooting. He said his wife had described Bishop as "not being able to deal with reality" and "not as good as she thought she was."
Bishop was calm as she got into a police car Friday, denying that the shootings occurred. "It didn't happen. There's no way. ... They are still alive."