February 15, 2010, 04:12 PM ET
Husband of Accused Killer Says Wife Went to Shooting Range
By Thomas Bartlett and Robin Wilson
Huntsville, Ala. -- The biology professor at the University of Alabama at Huntsville accused of shooting three of her colleagues to death at a faculty meeting last week had apparently borrowed the handgun from someone she knew, and had been to an indoor shooting range a couple of weeks before the killings, according to her husband.
Amy Bishop's husband, James Anderson, told both The Chronicle and The New York Times on Sunday that the family did not own a gun. But in an interview with The Chronicle today, he acknowledged that she had borrowed a gun, though he wasn't sure from whom. "She was very cagey and didn't say," he said.
Michael Mercier, The Huntsville Times, Landov
Amy Bishop, the biology professor accused of opening fire in a faculty meeting at the U. of Alabama at Huntsville, shared this home in Huntsville with her husband, James Anderson, and their four children.
Mr. Anderson said he had told his wife he didn't want the gun around the house because of their children, who range in age from 8 to 18. "Get rid of it," he recalled telling her. "I didn't want to have it. I didn't feel we needed it."
Ms. Bishop, according to her husband, had borrowed the gun and was considering buying it. Last summer, he said, someone followed her across the campus. "She was worried about crazy students," he said. Mr. Anderson said had he warned his wife: "OK, but you can't carry it to work."
He told her that, if she had any concerns late at night, he would pick her up from the campus.
Mr. Anderson said he had gone with his wife to an indoor shooting range once, a couple of weeks ago. He said she had been there at least once before with a friend. The only indoor shooting range in the Huntsville area is Larry's Pistol & Pawn, about 15 minutes from Ms. Bishop's home. The owner, Larry Barnett, said today he didn't remember Ms. Bishop, but he did say that everyone who uses the shooting range must sign in. Mr. Barnett would not say whether the police had asked for the visitor logs.
Larry's Pistol & Pawn is a bustling gunshop and shooting range, with a wide selection of firearms and ammunition out front and 12 shooting bays in the back.
Mr. Anderson said his wife was not taking antidepressant drugs and was not in therapy. "Therapy was moving ahead -- keep pushing," he said. After his wife was denied tenure, he said he had sat her down and said, "You're beautiful, you're smart, you have an IQ above 160, let's figure out what you want to do."
She told him she wanted to do research. That's when they decided to open a research institute.
Mr. Anderson, dressed in a red shirt and blue-plaid pajama pants, spoke to The Chronicle in the foyer of his home while his children sang karaoke in another room. Ms. Bishop and their children are musically inclined, he said. He said the mood of the children was up and down, but it was particularly bad "when the sun goes down."
Mr. Anderson said he had been able to speak with his wife only briefly by telephone and had been barred from visiting her in jail. The question he said he most wanted to ask her is: Why?