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Teen Sought In Mass. Gay Bar Shootings


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Teen Sought In Mass. Gay Bar Shootings

by Margo Williams, 365Gay.com Boston Bureau

Posted: February 2, 2006 - 8:00 am ET, Updated: 11:00 am ET, Updated 1:00 pm ET

(New Bedford, Massachusetts) Police have identified a suspect in Thursday morning's shootings in a New Bedford gay bar that sent four people to hospital.

Three people were shot and one cut with what some witnesses said was a hatchet and others have described as a cutting tool. (story)

Police say they are looking for 18 year old Jacob D. Robida.

New Bedford Police Capt. Richard Spirlet said that attack is being treated as a hate crime.

A bartender, identified on Boston television stations only as Philip, said that the suspect entered Puzzles bar after midnight and ordered a drink. The bartender said the suspect was dressed in black.

The suspect asked if he was in a gay bar. He finished his first drink and ordered a second and then walked to the rear of the club where two men were playing pool the bartender said.

Without warning the man then pulled a hatchet from under his sweatshirt and struck one of the players in the head. When the second pool player attempted to intervene the attacker pulled a handgun and began firing.

There were about 18 people in the club at the time. Some managed to get out the front door.

Three people were shot in the attack. Two of them were hit in the head, the third in the chest. They were airlifted to Boston hospitals.

The shooter then walked out of the club moments before police arrived. He left behind the hatchet, as well as a machete.

Capt. Spirlet did not say how police identified Robida as the suspect.

Robida is described as a short, stocky white man with dark hair.

He is believed to be driving a green 1999 Pontiac Grand Am. Spirlet said he is considered armed and dangerous, and if spotted should not be approached.

"When a man walks into a bar, asks if it's a gay bar and starts shooting, there couldn't be any more glaringly obvious and enraging example that we need uniform hate crimes law and that Congress has stubbornly failed to act," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.

"The Senate can change this today. Whether the hate crime occurs in New Bedford, Massachusetts, or Roanoke, Virginia, local law enforcement deserve access to the same tools. The Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act would do this.

©365Gay.com 2006


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