Auto Body Worker: Prof In Alabama Case Held Me Up After Shooting In ’86

A former car repairman has come forward to tell the Boston Herald that Amy Bishop, charged in the killing of three professors at the University of Alabama Friday, held him up at gunpoint while searching for a getaway vehicle after killing her brother in 1986.

The claim casts more doubt on the official version of the story — that the shotgun Bishop was holding accidentally discharged in her Braintree, Mass., home, killing her 18-year-old brother. Bishop was 19 at the time, and she was released by the police the day of the incident without being charged.Bishop’s mother was on the town Personnel Board at the time and the current chief of police says the Bishop case file has been missing for 20 years. He says that Bishop in fact shot her brother after an argument. The chief of the police at the time of the incident denies there was any cover-up. (More on this below.)

Tom Pettigrew was working at Dave Dinger Ford on Washington Street — just a few blocks from Bishop’s home — on Dec. 6, 1986, the day of the shooting.

Pettigrew tells the Herald what happened when he went to investigate noises where the car keys at the repair shop:

“And she’s like, ‘Hands up!’ and I’m like, ‘Yes ma’am’ ”

Bishop appeared agitated and nervous, Pettigrew said. [She] said she needed a car because, “I got into a fight with my husband and he’s going to kill me,” the worker recalled.

Pettigrew then watched as Bishop walked through the dealership looking at cars, all the while grasping the gun.

Police were on the scene by then. They arrested Bishop.

Current Braintree Police Chief Paul Frazier said in a statement this weekend that Bishop also “allegedly pointed the shotgun at a motor vehicle in an attempt to get the driver to stop.” That would appear to refer to a separate incident than the one at the auto body shop.

Here’s more from the Frazier statement, quoting Officer Ronald Solimini, who says he wrote the Bishop report that is now missing (via the Boston Globe):

Officer Solimini recalled the incident as follows: He said he remembers that Ms. Bishop fired a round from a pump action shotgun into the wall of her bedroom. She had a fight with her brother and shot him, which caused his death. She fired a third round from the shotgun into the ceiling as she exited the home. She fled down the street with the shotgun in her hand. At one point she allegedly pointed the shotgun at a motor vehicle in an attempt to get the driver to stop. Officer Solimini found her behind a business on Washington Street. Officer Timothy Murphy was able to take control of the suspect at gunpoint and seized the shotgun. Ms. Bishop was subsequently handcuffed and transported to the police station under arrest.”

Emphasis ours.

And here, also via the Globe, is the report from the state police concluding — mainly on the word of Bishop’s mother — that the incident was an accident:

Bishop Report

Masthead Masthead
Editor & Publisher:
Managing Editor:
Senior News Editor:
Assistant Editor:
Editor at Large:
Investigations Desk:
Senior Political Correspondent:
Senior Editor:
Front Page Editor:
Editor for Prime & Special Projects:
General Manager & General Counsel:
Executive Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Publishing Associate:
Front-End Developer:
Senior Designer: