professor opens fire on fellow faculty, kills three
This is my university, so may as well.
6 Shot, 3 Killed at Alabama Campus Faculty Meeting
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.
A woman is taken into custody by Huntsville police on Friday in connection with the shootings.
The New York Times
Site of the shootings.
The Huntsville Times, citing a university official, reported that a biology professor was being held in the shooting. WAFF, the NBC affiliate in Huntsville, quoted university officials as saying the professor began shooting after learning at the faculty meeting that she was being denied tenure.
The newspaper identified the professor as Amy Bishop, 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.
Photographs of a suspect being led from the scene by the police appeared to match images of Dr. Bishop on academic and technology Web sites.
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.”
The shooting occurred in the Shelby Center at the university around 4 p.m., officials said. Few students were in the building, and none were involved in the shooting, said Ray Garner, a university spokesman. Three faculty members were killed, and three other people — two faculty members and one staff member — were taken to Huntsville Hospital, with injuries ranging from serious to critical.
Officials said the suspect was detained outside of the building “without incident.”
Justin Wright, a senior, was working in the building’s math lab on the second floor when the police burst in with guns drawn. Mr. Wright told The Huntsville Times that his first thoughts were, “I need to get down, I need to get down.” He added: “I’ve never seen a gun or heavy artillery like that. I was shocked.”
The shooting came just a week after a middle school student near Huntsville shot and killed a classmate.
“This is a very safe campus,” Mr. Garner said. “It’s not unlike what we experienced a week ago. This town is not accustomed to shootings and having multiple dead.”
The gray lawns of the campus were illuminated by the flashing lights of police cars and ambulances with blue and yellow stripes as the police and SWAT teams descended on campus. The university police were the first to respond, but the Huntsville Police Department is now handling the investigation, officials said. The Madison County Sheriff’s Department is assisting.
The university was put on lockdown “almost instantaneously,” said Trent Willis, chief of staff to Mayor Tommy Battle. But some students complained on Twitter and to reporters that they did not receive the university’s alert until hours after the shooting.
“The U-Alert was triggered late because the people involved in activating that system were involved in responding to the shooting,” said Charles Gailes, chief of the university police, at a news conference.
“We’re going to stop, we’re going to sit down, we’re going to review what happened,” Mr. Gailes said. “All of these actions are going to be learning points, and we’re going to be better for this.”
Erin Johnson, a sophomore, told The Huntsville Times that a biology faculty meeting was under way when she heard screams coming from the room.
According to the 2006 profile, Dr. Bishop and her husband tired of using old-fashioned petri dishes for cell incubation and designed a sealed, self-contained mobile cell incubation system. The system was described as reducing many of the problems with cultivating tissues in the fragile environment of the petri dish. The system was later marketed by Prodigy Biosystems, which raised $1.2 million in capital financing after winning third place in an Alabama technology competition.
Dr. Bishop’s faculty Web page listed several of her academic publications, many of which had to do with her interest in the role of nitric oxide in the central nervous system. Dr. Bishop said on her page that she was developing a neural computer that used living neurons taken from adult stem cells and the cells of bony fish.
Shaila Dewan and Robbie Brown contributed reporting from Atlanta.
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