February 12, 2010
Amy Bishop (45) opens fire on a group of colleagues during a department meeting, killing 3 and wounding 3
The shooting was in response to Bishop being passed over for tenure the year before. She had appealed the decision but was unsuccessful. As such, Bishop was scheduled to lose her position at the end of the semester.
On February 12, 2010, Bishop attended a faculty meeting for the biology department of the University of Alabama’s Huntsville campus. Near the conclusion of the meeting, Bishop drew a 9mm handgun and began to shoot her colleagues.
“She started with the one closest to her and went down the row shooting her targets in the head,” recalled one of those in the meeting. “She started with the one closest to her and went down the row shooting her targets in the head. … Blood was everywhere with crying and moaning. We were in a pool of blood in disbelief of what had happened.”
After less than a minute, 3 were dead and another 3 wounded. The dead were Dr. Gopi K. Podila, the chairman of the Department of Biological Sciences, as well as associate professors Dr. Adriel D. Johnson and Dr. Maria Ragland Davis. Two more professors and a staff assistant were wounded. The shooting only stopped when Bishop’s gun jammed as she pointed it at the head of another professor. She was apprehended by a sheriff’s deputy soon after.
Bishop pleaded guilty to avoid a potential death sentence, and was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.
During the investigation and trial into the University of Alabama shooting, Bishop’s history of violence surfaced. She had been involved in the December 6, 1986 shooting of her younger brother Seth in their family home. Bishop, who was 21 at the time, had loaded her father’s shotgun in her room, shot her bedroom wall, and walked downstairs to the kitchen where her 18-year-old brother was. Bishop then shot Seth in the chest in front of their mother. Bishop fled the scene, ran to a nearby car dealership to attempt to steal a car at gunpoint, and was arrested after aiming her gun at police. She was released into the custody of her parents after being held at the police station for 20 minutes.
Bishop claimed the shooting had been accidental, with the gun discharging as she attempted to figure out how to unload the weapon while it was pointed at her brother. Due to her parents’ insistence Seth’s death had been an accident, no charges were filed at the time. Although Seth’s death has since been considered a homicide, the District Attorney has stated a first-degree murder charge will not be actively pursued as Bishop is currently scheduled to live out the remainder of her life in prison for the school shooting. “We will not move to have [Bishop] returned to Massachusetts,” Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey stated. “The penalty we would seek for a first-degree murder conviction is already in place.”
Bishop had also been one of several people questioned in relation an attempted murder of her former supervisor in 1993. Bishop had left her job as a researcher in a children’s hospital, in part due to a poor performance review conducted by the supervisor. Shortly after her departure from the hospital, the supervisor was mailed two pipe bombs. Neither bomb detonated. Bishop, her husband, and a few others were questioned but no one was charged as investigators were “unable to gather sufficient evidence to bring charges,” according to U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz.
Incarceration Details. Anderson, Amy Bishop. AIS: 00285694. Alabama Department of Corrections. Accessed: February 12, 2021. http://www.doc.state.al.us/InmateHistory
Hurley, Liz. “What’s changed 10 years after deadly UAH shootings?” WAFF. February 10, 2020. Updated: February 11, 2020. Accessed: February 12, 2021. https://www.waff.com/2020/02/11/whats-changed-years-after-deadly-uah-shootings/
Roop, Lee. “Joseph Leahy, survivor of Amy Bishop killings, is dead at 58.”AL.com. October 16, 2017. Updated: march 6, 2019. Accessed: February 12, 2021. https://www.al.com/news/huntsville/2017/10/joseph_leahy_survivor_of_amy_b.html
Johnson, Alex. “After 5 Years, Alabama University Killer Apologizes for the First Time.” NBC News. October 19, 2015. Accessed: February 12, 2021. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/after-5-years-alabama-university-killer-apologizes-first-time-n447481
Ellement, John R. “Amy Bishop will not be tried for killing her brother in 1986, Norfolk DA says.” Boston.com. September 28, 2012. Accessed: February 12, 2021. https://www.boston.com/metrodesk/2012/09/28/amy-bishop-will-not-tried-for-shooting-and-killing-her-brother-seth-says/i2oRujp5eWB2OMuoXcfBwJ/story.html
Keefe, Patrick Radden. “A Loaded Gun.” The New Yorker. February 4, 2013. Accessed: February 12, 2021. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/02/11/a-loaded-gun
“Amy Bishop gets life in prison for Ala. Univ. shooting.” CBS News. September 24, 2012. Accessed: February 12, 2021. https://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/amy-bishop-gets-life-in-prison-for-ala-univ-shooting/
“Amy Bishop Cleared Of ‘93 Mail Bomb Attempt.” WBUR. September 30, 2010. Accessed: February 12, 2021. https://www.wbur.org/news/2010/09/30/amy-bishop-mail-bomb
Slack, Donovan and Murphy, Shelley. “Bishop indicted in brother’s death.” Boston.com. June 17, 2010. Accessed: February 12, 2021. http://archive.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2010/06/17/bishop_indicted_in_brothers_death/
Zezima, Katie and Dewan, Shaila. “New Look at Killing of Brother of Professor.” New York Times. February 16, 2010. Accessed: February 12, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/17/us/17alabama.html