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Alabama Shootings

Amy Bishop was charged with capital murder and three charges of attempted murder for her alleged role in the shootings at the University of Alabama at Huntsville on Friday. The shootings came about an hour into a departmental faculty meeting. The department chair, Gopi Podila, and two associate professors, Maria Ragland Davis and Adriel Johnson, were killed. The wounded include Joseph Leahy and Stephanie Monticciolo both of whom, according to the New York Times, were in critical condition; Luis Cruz-Vera was released from the hospital yesterday. What brought about the shootings is unclear, though Bishop had been denied tenure and challenged the decision, to have the administration overrule it. Bishop studies mechanisms behind degenerations in neural tissue and, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education, recently devised a way to grow and study neural cells that drew more than $1 million of private funds. That device, called InQ, is manufactured and marketed by Prodigy Biosystems. "Yeah, she knows her stuff, and she's a good technical person, but as far as being the boss and running the lab, that was kind of the question," says William Setzer, the chair of the chemistry department, in the Chronicle.

The Times notes that Bishop's life has been marked by violence: in 1986, Bishop fatally shot her brother -- that case was ruled an accident -- and, in 1993, she and her husband, James Anderson, were questioned when a pipe bomb was sent to Bishop's colleague Paul Rosenberg at Children’s Hospital Boston. No one was charged in that case and Anderson says they both were cleared.

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