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Prof. charged in 3 fatal shootings on Ala. campus

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Prof. charged in 3 fatal shootings on Ala. campus
Published: 2/13/10, 8:25 AM EDT
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) - A biology professor at the University of Alabama in Huntsville who authorities say opened fire at a faculty meeting is facing a murder charge after the shooting spree that left three dead and three wounded.

Amy Bishop, 42, was charged Friday night with one count of capital murder, which means she could face the death penalty if convicted. Three of Bishop's fellow biology professors were killed and three other university employees were wounded. No students were harmed in the shooting, which happened in a community known for its space and technology industries.

The husband of one of the victims said he was told those at the meeting were discussing tenure for Bishop, who had been an assistant professor since 2003. Authorities have not discussed a motive.

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."

Bishop, a neurobiologist who studied at Harvard University, was taken Friday night in handcuffs from a police precinct to the county jail and could be heard saying, "It didn't happen. There's no way. ... They are still alive."

Police said they were also interviewing a man as "a person of interest."

University spokesman Ray Garner said the three killed were Gopi K. Podila, the chairman of the Department of Biological Sciences, and two other faculty members, Maria Ragland Davis and Adriel Johnson.

Three others were wounded, two critically, in the gunfire, which Davis' husband, Sammie Lee Davis, said occurred at a meeting over a tenure issue. The wounded were identified as department members Luis Cruz-Vera, who was listed in fair condition, and Joseph Leahy, in critical condition in intensive care, and staffer Stephanie Monticello, also in critical condition in intensive care.

Sammie Lee Davis said his wife was a researcher who had tenure at the university.

In a brief phone interview, he 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. He said his wife had mentioned the suspect before, describing the woman as "not being able to deal with reality" and "not as good as she thought she was."

Bishop and her husband placed third in a statewide university business plan competition in July 2007, presenting a portable cell incubator they had invented. They won $25,000 to help start a company to market the device.

Biology major Julia Hollis was among the students who gathered to support each other and try to make sense of the news.

"When someone told me it was a staff person and it was faculty I was in complete denial," said Hollis, 23, who had taken classes with two of the instructors who were killed. "It took me a bit for it to sink in."

Students offered varying assessments of Bishop.

Andrea Bennett, a sophomore majoring in nursing, 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."

Bennett, an athlete at UAH, said her coach told her team Bishop had been denied tenure and that may have led to the shooting.

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 performance in the classroom.

"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," said Tucker.

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

"She lectured from the textbook, mostly stuck to the subject matter at hand," Nick Lawton said. "She seemed like a nice enough professor."

Sophomore Erin Johnson told The Huntsville Times a biology faculty meeting was under way when she heard screams coming from a conference room.

University police secured the building and students were cleared from it. There was still a heavy police presence on campus Friday night, with police tape cordoning off the main entrance to the university.

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 to give students and staff time to grieve. Counselors were available to speak with students.

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.


Associated Press Writers Phillip Rawls and Desiree Hunter in Montgomery, Ala., Thomas Watkins in Los Angeles, and Jacob Jordan and Daniel Yee in Atlanta contributed to this report.
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Police: Alabama college shooting suspect killed her brother in 1986
Published: 2/13/10, 8:00 PM EDT

(CNN) - The biology professor charged in the shooting deaths Friday of three faculty members at the University of Alabama in Huntsville fatally shot her brother more than 23 years ago, police said Saturday.
Amy Bishop Anderson, who was then known as Amy Bishop, was never charged in her brother's death, Braintree, Massachusetts, Police Chief Paul Frazier told reporters. Police records detailing the 1986 incident are missing, and a log of the incident lists it as an accidental shooting, he said.

An officer involved in the case told him that Anderson shot her brother after an argument, Frazier said.

Anderson, a Harvard-educated professor, has been charged with capital murder.

Huntsville Police Chief Henry Reyes said Anderson, 45, was attending a faculty meeting on the third floor of the sciences building Friday afternoon when she shot six colleagues, killing three.

Anderson, a professor and researcher at the university, was arrested as she was leaving the building, Reyes told reporters Saturday. He said a 9 mm handgun was recovered from the second floor of the building late Friday.

Anderson is charged with one count of capital murder, a crime that involved two or more intentional deaths and is eligible for the death penalty in Alabama. Madison County District Attorney Rob Broussard said officials were considering other charges, including attempted murder

University spokesman Ray Garner has identified the dead as Gopi Podila, chairman of the biological sciences department; Maria Davis, associate professor of biology; and Adriel Johnson, associate professor of biology.

The injured were Joseph Leahy, associate professor of biology, in critical condition; Luis Cruz-Vera, assistant professor of biology, in stable condition; and Stephanie Monticello, staff assistant, also in stable condition. They were taken to Huntsville Hospital.

Authorities have not ruled out the possibility of other suspects in connection with the shooting.

Investigators have interviewed Anderson's husband, Jim.

Anderson had been working at the university since 2003 and was up for tenure, Garner said. However, authorities wouldn't discuss possible motives or whether the issue of tenure may have played a role in the shooting.

Garner said the meeting at Shelby Hall was for faculty and staff in the sciences department, but he gave no other details.

The incident occurred shortly before 4 p.m. (5 p.m. ET), and residence halls were locked down 10 minutes later. An alert notifying the campus about the incident was issued at 4:42 p.m. CT.

Pressed on the amount of time that passed before a campus alert was sent notifying students and faculty about the shooting and the lockdown, university police Chief Chuck Gailes said the lag "didn't impact the safety of people on campus and in the building."

He said there is no specific timeframe that dictates how quickly such an alert is issued, but he said it would be an issue officials will look into.

University President David Williams said there would be a prayer service Sunday.

"We are a resilient community, and we know we will come together to overcome these difficult times," he said.

Williams said the campus would open for employees next week but there would be no classes.

Kourtney Lattimore, a 19-year-old sophomore studying nursing, was one of about 100 students who attended the suspect's anatomy class from 10:20 to 11:15 a.m. Friday., when the subject included neurons.

"Nothing seemed to be off at all," she said about her teacher, who wore a pink sweater in class. "We were all shocked, like, all of us just couldn't believe it."

Lattimore said her anatomy class was not the only one affected by Friday's events. Leahy -- who was wounded in the shooting -- taught her infection and immunity class, she said.

Reached at the couple's home, Jim Anderson told CNN that his wife has an attorney whom he would not identify. He described his wife as a good teacher.
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UAB is a gun free campus, how could someone possibly shoot people in a place where they aren't allowed to carry a gun?
Husband: Ala. prof went to range before shooting
Published: 2/15/10, 6:45 PM EDT
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) - The husband of an Alabama professor accused of fatally shooting three colleagues said Monday that he'd gone with her to a shooting range recently but that he didn't know where she got the gun she used for practice that day.

James Anderson told The Associated Press that his wife, Amy Bishop, didn't do anything unusual in the days before Friday's shooting. Bishop, a Harvard-educated neurobiologist, is accused of pulling a gun at a faculty meeting and shooting six people, three fatally. Two of the survivors remained in critical condition Monday.

Anderson said he knew his wife had a gun, but didn't know when or how she got it.

"I really don't know how she got it, or where she got it from," he said.

Police have previously said Bishop had no permit for the gun they believe she used in the shooting, and investigators said they didn't know where she got it. It's not clear if that was the same gun that her husband knew about.

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 before the shooting foreshadowed the violence last week, either, he said.

"She was just a normal professor," he said.

On Monday, some victims relatives were questioning how Bishop was hired at the university in 2003 after she was questioned years ago in separate criminal probes.

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.

Authorities released her and said the episode was a tragic accident. She was never charged, though current Braintree police Chief Paul Frazier questions how the investigation was handled.

Her husband said Monday he had known about her brother being shot, but said "it was an accicdent. That's all I knew about it."

In another incident, The Boston Globe reported that Bishop and her husband were questioned by investigators looking into a pipe bomb sent to one of Bishop's colleagues, Dr. Paul Rosenberg, at Children's Hospital Boston in 1993. The bomb did not go off, and nobody was ever charged.

James Anderson defended himself and his wife as innocent people questioned by investigators casting a wide net. He said the case "had a dozen people swept up in this and everybody was a subject, not a suspect."

"There was never any indictment, arrest, nothing, and then everyone was cleared after five years," he said.
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A criminal...my god...I am shocked!  ??)
Some more of this stuff here: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100217/ap_on_re_us/us_ala_university_shooting;_ylt=AvhpLpjPhxu._9viMTUW3WwEq594;_ylu=X3oDMTNmcWk0YXUyBGFzc2V0A2FwLzIwMTAwMjE3L3VzX2FsYV91bml2ZXJzaXR5X3Nob290aW5nBGNjb2RlA21vc3Rwb3B1bGFyBGNwb3MDNgRwb3MDNgRzZWMDeW5fdG9wX3N0b3JpZXMEc2xrA3N0dWRlbnRzY29tcA--

What I don't get is the shooting her brother, seriously, they just dismissed it as an accident with no real investigation, what about the alleged gunpoint demands for a getaway car, and the pipe bombs, and all the complaints from students? This had disaster written all over it, just look at her picture, she scares the hell out of me, something about that expression and that look in her eyes, it's not right. If I had to sit in a room with her I'd want to have a defensive weapon in my hand the whole time, especially if I knew her brother was killed in a mysterious 'accidental shooting' and that someone she didn't like received pipe bombs in the mail. The flaw here isn't in guns, it's the fact that she's killed a family member and exhibited very strange behavior and might have sent someone pipe bombs, yet nothing was ever done about it. How can someone with a doctorate have been stupid enough to point a ready-to-fire shotgun at a family member when learning to use it? People make dumb mistakes, but that doesn't add up. She's a psycho and somehow manages to go under the radar, I don't care if she has a doctorate in Neuroscience from Harvard, she's still a psychotic murderer. The world is a scary place when a college professor is running around killing people.
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