Amy Bishop, UAH Prof, Kills Three After Denied Tenure
Neuroscientist Amy Bishop was denied tenure by the biology faculty at the University of Alabama at Huntsville. So she shot them.
The woman accused of killing three faculty members at University of Alabama Huntsville has been charged with capital murder.
Police said a female member of the UA-Huntsville faculty shot and killed three co-workers on campus Friday afternoon.
Sources close to the investigation identify the suspect as Dr. Amy Bishop.
Police also have the alleged shooter’s husband in custody. He has not been formally charged with anything.
University spokesman Ray Garner said the three killed were G. K. Podila, the chairman of the Department of Biological Sciences, and two associates, Maria Ragland Davis and Adriel Johnson.
He also said Joseph Leahy is in critical condition at Huntsville Hospital. Stephanie Monticello and Luis Rogelio Cruz-Vera are in stable condition.
Huntsville Police, Madison County Sheriff’s department and HEMSI responded to a shooting at the UAH campus at 4:00 Friday afternoon.
The shooting happened in the Shelby Center, a math and science classroom building.
Authorities said Bishop, during a Biology faculty meeting, learned she would not receive tenure. She then pulled out a gun and started shooting.
Three faculty members at the University of Alabama in Huntsville were shot to death, and three other people were seriously wounded at a biology faculty meeting on Friday afternoon, university officials said. The Associated Press reported that a biology professor, identified as Amy Bishop, was charged with murder.
According to a faculty member, the professor had applied for tenure, been turned down, and appealed the decision. She learned on Friday that she had been denied once again.
The newspaper identified Dr. Bishop as a Harvard-educated neuroscientist. According to a 2006 profile in the newspaper, Dr. Bishop invented a portable cell growth incubator with her husband, Jim Anderson. Police officials said that Mr. Anderson was being detained, but they did not call him a suspect.
Dr. Bishop had told acquaintances recently that she was worried about getting tenure, said a business associate who met her at a business technology open house at the end of January and asked not to be named because of the close-knit nature of the science community in Huntsville. “She began to talk about her problems getting tenure in a very forceful and animated way, saying it was unfair,” the associate said, referring to a conversation in which she blamed specific colleagues for her problems. “She seemed to be one of these persons who was just very open with her feelings,” he said. “A very smart, intense person who had a variety of opinions on issues.”
Huntsville Police Chief Henry Reyes left open the possibility that more than one person had been detained. “We have a suspect and possible persons of interest,” he said late Friday. “Until we go through everything, we’re not going to say exactly how many or who we have.”
Dr. Amy Bishop, a Harvard-University trained neuroscientist, was taken into custody, and her husband has been detained. They have not been charged with a crime. Police said they have a suspect in custody but have not named the person.
In June 2006, The Times published a story involving Bishop, biology professor and her husband, Jim Anderson, chief science officer of Cherokee Labsystems in Huntsville. Bishop is quoted in the story as co-inventor of “InQ,” a new cell growth incubator which promised to cut the costs, size and maintenance involved in the mechanics of cell generation.
Naturally, the tragic and unusual nature of this incident is drawing substantial blogospheric commentary.
Ed Morrissey takes a just-the-facts approach, noting only that he’s surprised that the shooter was a female. So was I, actually.
Stacy McCain refrains from his customary snark, given that three are dead and others are seriously injured. His commenters, not so much, including some odd speculation on the race of the suspect. (She would appear caucasian.)
Vox Day ties this into the global warming debate and sees this as proof that scientists aren’t rational and objective. Which, aside from being bizarre and cruel, seems not to match events. After all, the decision to deny Dr. Bishop tenure would seem vindicated.
It’s always baffling to me when people try to politicize random tragedies — usually while they’re breaking news stories with little real information. At first blush, Bishop would seem to be extremely bright — a Harvard-trained neuroscientist doing cutting edge work — but with some serious psychological issues. My natural tendency in these mass murder situations is to write the shooters off as mentally ill but the seeming premeditation and obvious revenge motives against the victims would seem contrary evidence.
Regardless, however, this tragic, one-off case is unlikely to significantly alter my views on higher education, gun rights, crime and punishment, or global warming. I’ll post a follow-up if that changes.