February 13th, 2010
More On Amy Bishop and the University of Alabama Huntsville

I’ve already written a long post tracking the Amy Bishop story. As more details emerge, I’ll post them. Here are a couple of things worth noting.

The first isn’t about her, but about her university. Just last year, another UAH professor was convicted of murdering his wife.

As to Bishop: The Boston Globe reports:

The University of Alabama biology professor accused of slaying three of her colleagues fatally shot her brother in an apparent accident in Massachusetts more than two decades ago, a local police chief said.

Braintree Police Chief Paul Frazier confirmed the 1986 shooting in his town and slated a news conference this afternoon to discuss the incident.

She was twenty, he eighteen. While trying to “unload a round from the chamber of a 12-gauge shotgun,” she shot her brother in the abdomen.

The Globe article comes close to suggesting it might not have been accidental.


As details of Bishop’s earlier killing emerge, things get a bit stomach-churning:

The Braintree police chief said today the woman accused of gunning down three in an Alabama shooting rampage shot and killed her brother during an argument in 1986 – but no police report exists and she was never charged.

Chief Paul Frazier said Amy Bishop shot her brother in the chest, fled the house, pointed the shotgun at another car, then fled into woods.

Police found her and arrested her, but during the booking process the former police chief called and interceded, Frazier said. No investigation took place after that and the incident report was lost or discarded.

“This would never happen in this day and age,” Frazier said.

Frazier has forwarded the case to the Norfolk DA’s office for investigation…


Another account:

She fired at least three shots, hitting her brother once and hitting her bedroom wall, before police took her into custody at gunpoint, he said.

Before Bishop could be booked, the police chief back then told officers to release her to her mother, Frazier said.

February 12th, 2010
Professor Kills Three at Faculty Meeting

[Please note: This is a big, quickly moving story. This post contains many updates.]


UD reader David sends this to UD. It’s from the Associated Press, published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

A woman opened fire during a biology faculty meeting at the University of Alabama’s Huntsville campus Friday, killing three people and injuring at least one more.

The shooter was in custody, but university spokesman Ray Garner said he could not identify her or the victims. Local television stations reported she is a faculty member.

Garner said three people were dead and a fourth injured. Trent Willis, chief of staff for Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, said several other people had been shot, but he did not have an exact number or their conditions…

The university’s home page.

Faculty member Amy Bishop is in custody. Her home page has been taken down.


I’m passing this along, but I’m skeptical:

WAFF also is reporting that law enforcement sources say a female faculty member learned during a Biology faculty meeting that she would not receive tenure. She then pulled out a gun and started shooting.

Since when are you informed you’ve been turned down for tenure in a meeting, in front of the faculty? I have trouble believing any department is this nasty. It is, on the other hand, possible that she had, maybe this afternoon, received a letter or phone call telling her she’d been turned down… And after thinking about this for a while, she decided to pack a gun.

: From a National Public Radio blog:

The accused shooter was denied tenure by the university Friday morning. According to the reporter, the woman then returned to a biology faculty meeting this afternoon and allegedly started shooting her colleagues.


The blog Media Elites

provides this picture.

Taken into custody.


Live local coverage.


Her archived web page.


UD‘s sister sends her this detail from Britain’s Daily Mail — not an impeccable source, so make of it what you will:

The neuro-scientist’s husband opened the door for his wife before she started shooting, according to local reports.


Names of those shot, from the Huntsville Times:

G.K. Podila, Maria Ragland Davis and Adriel Johnson, all three faculty members at the university, died shortly after the afternoon shooting at the Shelby Center.

Joseph Leahy is in critical condition at Huntsville Hospital. Stephanie Monticello and Luis Rogelio Cruz-Vera are now stable, officials said.


Update, Saturday morning: If the details in this Daily News piece are correct, we can begin to suggest a few things about this event.

As one might imagine, there’s now evidence that the shooter was known to be unstable. The husband of one of the killed “said his wife had mentioned the shooter before, describing the woman as ‘not being able to deal with reality.'”

If he is also correct that his wife “was at a meeting to discuss the tenure status of a faculty member who got angry,” then presumably this was a meeting to which Bishop had not been invited, because her tenure status was being discussed.

In which case, the detail from the Daily Mail (none of these details is yet confirmed) about Bishop’s husband (not a faculty member) opening the door for her before she began shooting suggests that she crashed the meeting — with his help.

It’s not clear whether Bishop had already been notified of denial of tenure, went into a rage, got her gun, burst into the meeting… Or whether this was the meeting during which faculty would discuss and vote on her tenure (but there were assistant professors there, so this seems unlikely), and she, knowing the likely outcome, attacked them before it could be reached.


According to this NYT account, published an hour ago, she did not storm the room.

On Friday, Ms. Bishop presided over her regular class before going to a biology faculty meeting where she sat quietly for about 30 or 40 minutes, said one University of Alabama faculty member who had spoken to people that were in the room. Then, she pulled out a gun and began shooting, firing several rounds before her gun either jammed or ran out of bullets, the faculty member said.

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