Oh boy....

Ala. prof accused of killing 3 in tenure dispute

By KRISTIN M. HALL, Associated Press Writer Kristin M. Hall, Associated Press
Writer – 1 min ago

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – A University of Alabama biology professor accused of gunning
down three colleagues in an apparent tenure dispute was known as a bright woman
who some students said struggled to explain complicated topics.

Three others were wounded during the faculty meeting at the Huntsville campus on
Friday — a rare instance of a woman being accused in a mass shooting. Amy
Bishop, 42, a Harvard-educated neurobiologist who became an assistant professor
at the school in 2003, has been charged with capital murder. A "person of
interest" also was being interviewed.

She was taken Friday night in handcuffs to the county jail, and said as she got
into a police car: "It didn't happen. There's no way. ... They are still

Students' assessments of Bishop varied. Some recalled an attentive, friendly
teacher, while others said she was an odd woman who couldn't simplify difficult
subjects for students. Sammie Lee Davis, the husband of a tenured researcher who
was killed, said his wife had described Bishop as "not being able to deal with
reality" and "not as good as she thought she was."

Davis said his wife was a tenured researcher at the university. In a brief phone
interview, Davis said he was told his wife was at a meeting to discuss the
tenure status of another faculty member who got angry and started shooting.

Davis' wife, Maria Ragland Davis, was among those killed, along with Gopi K.
Podila, chairman of the biological sciences department, and Adriel Johnson.

Bishop had created a portable cell incubator, known as InQ, that was less
expensive than its larger counterparts. She and her husband had won $25,000 in
2007 to market the device.

Andrea Bennett, a sophomore majoring in nursing and an athlete at UAH, said a
coach told her team that Bishop had been denied tenure, which the coach said
may have led to the shooting.

Bennett described Bishop as being "very weird" and "a really big nerd."

"She's well-known on campus, but I wouldn't say she's a good teacher. I've heard
a lot of complaints," Bennett said. "She's a genius, but she really just can't
explain things."

Amanda Tucker, a junior nursing major from Alabaster, Ala., had Bishop for
anatomy class about a year ago. Tucker said a group of students complained to a
dean about Bishop's classroom performance.

"When it came down to tests, and people asked her what was the best way to
study, she'd just tell you, 'Read the book.' When the test came, there were
just ridiculous questions. No one even knew what she was asking," Tucker said.

However, UAH student Andrew Cole was in Bishop's anatomy class Friday morning
and said she seemed perfectly normal.

"She's understanding, and was concerned about students," he said. "I would have
never thought it was her."

Nick Lawton, 25, described Bishop as funny and accommodating with students.

"She seemed like a nice enough professor," Lawton said.

The Huntsville campus has about 7,500 students in northern Alabama, not far from
the Tennessee line. The university is known for its scientific and engineering
programs and often works closely with NASA.

The space agency has a research center on the school's campus, where many
scientists and engineers from NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center perform Earth
and space science research
and development.

The university will remain closed next week, and all athletic events were
canceled. The wounded were still recovering in hospitals early Saturday. Luis
Cruz-Vera was in fair condition; Joseph Leahy in critical condition; and
staffer Stephanie Monticello also was in critical condition.

It's the second shooting in a week on an area campus. On Feb. 5, a 14-year-old
student was killed in a middle school hallway in nearby Madison, allegedly by a
fellow student.

Mass shootings are rarely carried out by women, said Dr. Park Dietz, who is
president of Threat Assessment Group Inc., a Newport Beach, Calif.-based
violence prevention firm.

A notable exception was a 1985 rampage at a Springfield, Pa., mall in which
three people were killed. In June 1986, Sylvia Seegrist was deemed guilty but
mentally ill on three counts of murder and seven counts of attempted murder in
the shooting spree.

Dietz, who interviewed Seegrist after her arrest, said it was possible the
suspect in Friday's shooting had a long-standing grudge against colleagues or
superiors and felt complaints had not been dealt with fairly.

Gregg McCrary, a retired FBI agent and private criminal profiler based in
Fredericksburg, Va., said there is no typical outline of a mass shooter but
noted they often share a sense of paranoia, depression or a feeling that they
are not appreciated.

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Comment by Jim Werbaneth on February 16, 2010 at 11:55pm
Comment by Smitty on February 14, 2010 at 9:40pm
Nope but if she were a conservative that would be in all the news stories....
Comment by Jim Werbaneth on February 14, 2010 at 9:37pm
...she would never be considered for tenure in the first place.
Comment by Smitty on February 14, 2010 at 9:36pm
Of course if she were a conservative....
Comment by Jim Werbaneth on February 14, 2010 at 8:30pm
I guess if she's going to be a psychotic, she might as well be a full-service psychotic.
Comment by Smitty on February 14, 2010 at 7:03pm
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 BishopAmy Bishop 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. He and his wife ran from the house and called police.

The package contained two 6-inch pipe bombs connected to two nine-volt batteries.

In March 1994, the Globe reported that federal investigators had identified a prime suspect in the case. But the article did not name the suspect.

•Braintree promises search for records in Bishop case
•Amy Bishop was a suspect in 1993 mail bomb attempt
•Bishop family, friends: No hint of violence
•Statement from Braintree Police Chief Paul Frazier
•PDF Full police report on Bishop
•PDF Braintree police 'day log' Dec. 6, 1986
•Video Ex-chief denies cover-up in 1986 shooting

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 Globe 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.

Roberts 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.
Comment by Smitty on February 14, 2010 at 6:50am
I simply it more Jim - logical twaddle! LOL
Comment by Jim Werbaneth on February 13, 2010 at 7:30pm
She couldn't simplify complex subjects for her students... I feel much better knowing that this morning I cut down Marbury v. Madison to "The principle of judicial review, arrived at by pure logical reasoning that would make Spock proud, but you don't have to understand."

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