Woman charged in university shooting was suspect in mail bombing - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Professor charged in UA Huntsville shooting was suspect in mail bombing

By Jeanie Powell - bio | email
Posted by Dana Franks - email

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Authorities have said the suspect in a fatal shooting spree at the University of Alabama at Huntsville Friday was also suspected in an attempted mail bombing in Massachusetts.

An anonymous source with insight to the investigation told the Boston Globe that during a search of her computer in the mid-1990's, authorities found a draft of a novel that Dr. Amy Bishop-Anderson was writing. The main character was a female scientist who had killed her brother and was hoping to become a great scientist.

On Friday, Bishop-Anderson allegedly opened fire at a biology department meeting at the Shelby Center at UA Huntsville, killing Dr. Gopi Podila, Dr. Maria Davis, and Dr. Adriel Johnson. Three other people were injured in the shooting, with two still hospitalized Sunday evening.

Bishop-Anderson has been charged with three counts of capital murder in the incident.

At the age of 19 in 1986, Amy Bishop shot her 18-year-old brother in the chest after an argument. Her brother died in the incident, which was deemed an accident and no charges were filed.

In 1993, Bishop was a suspect in an attempted mail bombing of a doctor at Boston's Children's Hospital, who was also a professor at Harvard Medical School.

Reporters in Boston talked to a law enforcement official who said Dr. Paul Rosenburg called police after opening a long, thin package at his home that contained two six-inch pipe bombs connected to two 9-volt batteries.

The report said federal agents focused their investigation on Bishop-Anderson and her husband. She was interrogated because she allegedly feared she was going to receive a negative evaluation from Rosenburg on her doctorate work. 

Sylvia Fluckiger, a former colleague of Bishop's, said it was common knowledge there was animosity between Bishop and Rosenburg and that her former coworker described questions police asked her with a grin on her face.

No one was ever charged in the attempted mail bombing. But is this information of interest to investigators here in north Alabama? Sgt. Mark Roberts with the Huntsville Police Department told WAFF 48 News that he learned of the 1993 attempted mail bombing when he got a call late Saturday night from a Massachusetts reporter.

Roberts said investigators will follow up on this latest revelation, but that "neither of those cases has any bearing on our case."

Madison County District Attorney Rob Broussard said, "If somebody were to put on a mental defense, then it could become pertinent and come into evidence."

Broussard said the weight of the state's focus will be the UA Huntsville shooting.

"It certainly doesn't help [Bishop-Anderson], but basically the prosecution is going to want to admit it as evidence of other similar acts to show that this is her character," local defense attorney Jake Watson said.

Watson, who is not involved in this case, said there appears to be psychological issues that need to be explored and that could help the defense.

"If I was representing her, the first thing I'd do is have her evaluated," he said.

WAFF 48 News has already gotten questions from viewers, saying this "black hole" in Bishop-Anderson's background should have raised a red flag before someone hired her.

UA Huntsville spokesman Ray Garner said he'll have to discuss the matter with the school's human resources office to learn more about their policy.

He also said Bishop-Anderson was never charged, so they had no knowledge of these incidents.

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