HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (CN) – Two University of Alabama employees who were shot in the head by Amy Bishop Anderson during a Biology Department meeting this year sued Bishop and her husband for their traumatic brain injuries, pain and suffering. They say Bishop’s husband negligently entrusted the 9mm pistol to his wife after having another man, in another state, buy the gun for him.
Bishop Anderson, an assistant professor of biology, shot three colleagues to death on Feb. 12 this year and wounded three with a 9mm handgun. About 12 people sat in the routine department meeting for an hour until Bishop “pulled out a 9 mm handgun, and began shooting those in attendance” at around 4 p.m., according to the complaint in Madison County Court.
Three professors were killed – Gopi Podilla, Maria Ragland Davis and Adriel Johnson – and three were wounded, professors Luis Cruz-Vera and Joseph Leahy, and Stephanie Monticciolo, a department secretary, or executive assistant, who was taking notes at the meeting. Monticciolo and Leahy and their spouses are the plaintiffs in this complaint.
Monticcioli had an eye shot out and suffered other grave injuries that left her with continuing traumatic brain injury. Leahy suffered comparable damage, though he did not lose an eye.
They say the gun Bishop used “was purchased in 1989 for Bishop-Anderson’s husband, James E. Anderson, Jr. … by a man who was residing in New Hampshire.” They say Anderson, who was living in Massachusetts, asked the man to buy him the gun “because Anderson was having problems with a neighbor and New Hampshire did not have a waiting period for gun purchases.”
The 12-page complaint rehearses the now well-known peculiar history of Amy Bishop:
that “in 1986, Amy Bishop-Anderson fatally shot her 18-year-old brother, Seth Bishop, on Dec. 6, 1986 in the family’s house on Hollis Avenue in Braintree, Massachusetts. Defendant James Anderson became aware of this event”;
that Amy Bishop and her husband both “were questioned in a 1993 pipe-bomb incident directed toward Ms. Bishop-Anderson’s then lab supervisor. … The bombs did not explode and no one was ever charged. Authorities investigating the mail bomb collected evidence from the homes and offices of Amy Bishop Anderson and James E. Anderson Jr.”;
that Amy Bishop hit a woman in the head at an IHOP restaurant in 2002, in an argument over a child’s booster seat;
that “Shortly before the UAHuntsville shooting, defendant Amy Bishop Anderson borrowed the gun used in the shooting from James E. Anderson Jr., and Mr. Anderson had escorted her to an indoor shooting range in the weeks prior to the incident”;
and that “Prior to the UAHuntsville shooting, multiple colleagues of Ms. Bishop-Anderson had expressed concern over her behavior,” including that she was “strange,” “crazy,” “did things that weren’t normal,” and “was out of touch with reality.”
The complaint adds: “After Bishop’s tenure was denied and she learned that this colleague [a member of her tenure-review committee] referred to her as ‘crazy,’ she filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), alleging gender discrimination, with the professor’s remark to be used as possible evidence in that case. The professor did not retract his comments: ‘The professor was given the opportunity to back off the claim, or to say it was a flippant remark. But he did not. ‘I said she was crazy multiple times and I stand by that,’ the professor said. ‘This woman has a pattern of erratic behavior. She did things that weren’t normal … she was out of touch with reality.’ Defendant James Anderson had to be aware of his wife’s behavior.”
Monticciolo and Leahy seek damages for negligence and wantonness from Amy Bishop, negligence and negligent entrustment from her husband, loss of consortium and conspiracy. They also sued unnamed defendants who made, marketed or sold the gun used in the shooting or its components, and unnamed defendants who made or prescribed any psychotropic medication Amy Bishop took that contributed to the shootings.
They are represented by Gary Conchin with Morris, Conchin, King & Hodge of Huntsville.