Skip to main content

Shootout kills gay-bar attack suspect

Robida slays officer, woman before being shot by police



Hate Crimes

(CNN) -- An 18-year-old suspected in hatchet attacks and shootings at a Massachusetts gay bar died Sunday after a gunbattle with Arkansas police, authorities said.

Investigators said 18-year-old Jacob Robida shot and killed a police officer and his own female companion, 33-year-old Jennifer Bailey of Charleston, West Virginia, before being mortally wounded by police.

Robida died in a Missouri hospital about 1,200 miles from his home in New Bedford, Massachusetts, where he was wanted on three counts of attempted murder and hate crimes.

He was captured Saturday night after he fatally shot Gassville, Arkansas, police officer James Sell during a traffic stop, prompting a 16-mile police chase that reached speeds of more than 90 mph, Arkansas State Police spokesman Bill Sadler said. (Watch Sadler describe what happened -- 5:12)

Authorities attempted to stop Robida with a patrol-car roadblock, but he maneuvered around it, Sadler said. One officer fired shots at Robida at one point in the chase, Sadler said.

The chase ended after authorities laid tire spikes across the highway to disable Robida's car, the same green Pontiac Grand Am sought by police in Massachusetts.

As Robida turned toward downtown Norfork, Arkansas, tires deflating, he lost control of the car. The Pontiac spun nearly 180 degrees, crashed into two parked vehicles and came to rest facing the pursuing officers, Sadler said.

Based on officers' statements and a preliminary review of the forensic evidence, Sadler said, "Investigators now believe Robida raised a handgun to the head of Bailey and fired. It is believed she was killed instantly by that gunshot."

Robida then pointed his gun at the officers, who shot him. He was critically wounded, and was taken to an area hospital before being transferred to Springfield, Missouri, where he died at 3:38 a.m. (4:38 a.m. ET) Sunday, Sadler said.

Authorities in New Bedford, about 50 miles south of Boston, wanted Robida arrested on suspicion of three counts of attempted murder and hate crimes in connection with the assaults late Wednesday at Puzzles Lounge.

Police said a man believed to be Robida used a hatchet and a gun to attack the men in the bar after asking the bartender whether it was a gay bar. Police believe the attacks are a hate crime.

Puzzles bartender Phillip Daggett, who witnessed the attack and called police, said that Robida came into the bar and had two drinks before pulling out a hatchet and hitting two patrons in the head. He then brandished a gun and shot the two patrons and a third customer, Daggett said.

'Easy way out'

Daggett said Sunday Robida's death was "not fair."

"He has taken such an easy way out of this, while his victims and others have to live with this for the rest of our lives," Daggett wrote in an e-mail to CNN.

Daggett expressed concern that others would follow in Robida's footsteps, but said, "Hopefully, we can all move forward and grow closer together as a community."

Authorities were not sure why Sell, 63, attempted to stop Robida, but believe it was traffic-related, police said Sunday. After the shooting, witnesses identified the car as a green Pontiac with Kentucky license plates.

Massachusetts authorities said earlier Robida was armed with a Luger, the same type of gun used in the bar shootings.

Sgt. C.J. Ellyson, a West Virginia State Police spokesman, said Robida had lived with Bailey from early 2004 to early 2005 before returning to Massachusetts.

In an e-mail to CNN, a friend of Robida's described Bailey as his ex-girlfriend, but Ellyson said authorities were not certain of the nature of their relationship

Sell's shooting and Robida's shootout with police remained under investigation, Sadler said.

In launching their search after the attacks at the New Bedford bar, police described Robida as violent, armed, dangerous and suicidal. Police identified him as a suspect after someone in the bar recognized him, said New Bedford Police spokesman Capt. Richard Spirlet.

One of the victims Robida is accused of attacking was Bob Perry of Dartmouth, who told CNN he was hit in the face with a hatchet and shot once in the back. (Watch Perry recount the attack at a gay bar -- 2:03)

A source familiar with the investigation identified the other two victims as Alex Taylor of Fairhaven and Luis Rosado of New Bedford, apparently a neighbor of Robida.

Robida's neighbors have described him as a racist who decorated his room with swastikas.

But a friend of his who asked not to be identified told CNN in an e-mail, "He had problems and hung out with the wrong people, who were really racist and homophobic."

The girl said she saw Robida about a week before the attack, "and he was himself, being respectful in my house and nice to my family."

Story Tools
Subscribe to Time for $1.99 cover
Top Stories
Get up-to-the minute news from CNN gives you the latest stories and video from the around the world, with in-depth coverage of U.S. news, politics, entertainment, health, crime, tech and more.
Top Stories
Get up-to-the minute news from CNN gives you the latest stories and video from the around the world, with in-depth coverage of U.S. news, politics, entertainment, health, crime, tech and more.

© 2007 Cable News Network.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by
Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more
Radio News Icon Download audio news  |  RSS Feed Add RSS headlines