On some things they agree: There was an argument. More than one shot was fired. Amy Bishop, who had fatally shot her brother, Seth, was found by officers outside the family home. She was sent home, rather than held in jail.
Frazier, based upon the recollections of an officer involved in the case, said the girl had fought with her brother in the 1986 incident, then shot him with a shotgun and fled down the street with the rifle in her hand, at one point pointing it at a car to try to get it to stop. Later, at the station, Frazier said, the booking process was abruptly stopped and the young woman released.
Frazier said the release of Bishop had "frustrated" officers at the time and called the handling of the case "troubling."
"The release of Ms. Bishop did not sit well with the police officers and I can assure you that this would not happen in this day and age," Frazier said.
The State Police report, completed in March 1987 by Trooper Brian L. Howe, several months after the Dec. 6, 1986 incident, paints a different picture.
The argument was not between the brother and sister, it was between the sister and her father, the report said. The young woman told them that after the argument, she had decided to practice how to load a shotgun the family had bought for self-defense after a previous break-in.
She said she loaded it but had trouble unloading it and it accidentally went off in her bedroom. Still hoping to unload it, she said, she went downstairs to ask her brother to help her, accidentally shooting him. Her mother said she had witnessed the incident and generally corroborated her account.
The report said the girl was initially unable to provide information due to "her highly emotional state" so the investigators decided to let her and her parents go, with the plan of interviewing them later after they had "sufficient time to stabilize their emotions." When investigators did interview Bishop, "she reiterated adamantly that the discharge had been accidental," the report said.
Ultimately, the report concluded, based on the testimony of the family members, that the shooting was an accident and no further investigation was needed. The case was gradually forgotten until today, a day after Amy Bishop's alleged shooting rampage at the University of Alabama.
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