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Alabama faculty shooting claims 3

Two shooting victims are taken from the Shelby Center on the Huntsville campus of the University of Alabama to an ambulance after several faculty members were shot Friday. A woman accused of the shooting was arrested.

Associated Press

Two shooting victims are taken from the Shelby Center on the Huntsville campus of the University of Alabama to an ambulance after several faculty members were shot Friday. A woman accused of the shooting was arrested.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — A woman opened fire during a faculty meeting at the University of Alabama's Huntsville campus on Friday, killing three biology professors and injuring three other school employees, authorities said.

Authorities said Amy Bishop, an instructor and researcher at the university, was charged with murder. She was charged with one count of capital murder, which means she could face the death penalty if convicted.

Bishop was taken Friday night in handcuffs from a police precinct to the county jail and could be heard saying, "It didn't happen. There's no way. … They are still alive."

University spokesman Ray Garner said the shooter was caught outside the building without incident, and no students were harmed in the shooting.

Garner identified the dead as Gopi K. Podila, the chairman of the department of biological sciences, and faculty members Maria Ragland Davis and Adriel Johnson.

Two others were in critical condition, and a third was in fair condition. The injured were identified as department members Luis Cruz-Vera, who was listed in fair condition, and Joseph Leahy, who was in critical condition. Staffer Stephanie Monticello also was in critical condition.

Sammie Lee Davis said his wife, Maria Ragland Davis, was a researcher who had tenure at the university. In a brief phone interview, he said he was told his wife was at a meeting to discuss the tenure status of another faculty member who got angry and started shooting.

He said his wife had mentioned the shooter before, describing the woman as "not being able to deal with reality."

Bishop, a neurobiologist from Harvard University, joined the college's biology faculty as an assistant professor in fall 2003.

She and her husband placed third in a statewide university business plan competition in July 2007, presenting a portable cell incubator they had invented. They won $25,000 to help start a company to market the device.

Andrea Bennett, a sophomore majoring in nursing, was in one of Bishop's classes Friday morning. Bennett said nothing seemed unusual, but she described Bishop as being "very weird" and "a really big nerd."

The Huntsville campus has about 7,500 students in northern Alabama, not far from the Tennessee line. The university is known for its scientific and engineering programs and often works closely with NASA. The space agency has a research center on the campus.

Alabama faculty shooting claims 3 02/12/10 [Last modified: Saturday, February 13, 2010 12:36am]
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