February 4, 2006

Massachusetts gay bar shooting suspect captured

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (Reuters) - The 18-year-old suspect
in a bloody attack on three men in a Massachusetts gay bar was
apprehended in Arkansas on Saturday after a shootout in which a
police officer was killed and a woman was found dead.

Jacob Robida was wounded in the exchange of gunfire with
police and airlifted to a hospital in Springfield, Missouri,
Arkansas state police spokesman Bill Sadler said.

Robida had been the target of a manhunt after he was
accused of wounding three people with a gun and a hatchet in a
New Bedford, Massachusetts, gay bar late on Wednesday.

He faces about a dozen charges, including three counts of
attempted murder and civil rights violations for the attack
that stunned gays in the region and raised fears the assailant
could strike again.

The Arkansas state police spokesman said troopers spotted
the suspect's vehicle on Saturday afternoon in Gassville in
north-central Arkansas.

A pursuit followed that ended with an exchange of gunfire
in nearby Norfork, Arkansas, between the suspect and Arkansas
state troopers and other police, Sadler said.

He said Robida was wounded, but his condition was unknown.
An unidentified woman was found dead in Robida's car, the cause
of death uncertain, Sadler said. A Gassville police officer was
killed in the shootout, he added.

Massachusetts police said Robida walked into Puzzles Lounge
in New Bedford late on Wednesday, ordered two drinks and then
went on a rampage after asking a bartender, "Is this a gay

When told he was in a gay bar, Robida walked into a back
area where several men played pool, reached into his coat and
pulled out a hatchet, police said.

He lunged at several men, striking two in the face with the
hatchet before several of the bar's 18 patrons attempted to
restrain him, police said. He then drew a gun and began firing,
according to police and witnesses.

A search of Robida's bedroom turned up neo-Nazi literature
and posters slurring gays, Jews and African-Americans, Bristol,
Massachusetts, District Attorney Paul Walsh told Reuters on