Alleged University Shooter's Husband Thought 'Somebody Had Gone Crazy at the School'

Husband has yet to tell their youngest child about shooting rampage.

ByABC News via logo
February 19, 2010, 12:19 AM

Feb. 19, 2010— -- Lost amid the fallout from this week's shooting at the University of Alabama are its youngest victims -- the children of alleged shooter Amy Bishop.

Bishop's husband, James Anderson, talks to his wife for a few minutes each day on the phone, but has not been allowed to visit her yet.

"She calls about the kids," said Anderson. "Are they doing their homework?"

Their four children, ages 7 to 18, have been told about their mother's arrest, except for the youngest one.

"The youngest wouldn't understand," Anderson told ABC News.

Anderson said his wife has never had mental health problems. Even though the prosecutor recommended anger management training, Anderson said she never sought it, and he didn't think she needed it.

He said she was a capable instructor and researcher, noting that she faced a "battle" over tenure.

"I just witnessed the day-to-day appeals, the letters, they just went back and forth," he said.

But they never diminished her spirit, he said. "Well, she's a fighter, and you don't get through a Harvard Ph.D. program without being singularly focused on your goal."

Even though she had been denied tenure, Bishop had other job prospects, he said.

"She put a few feelers out, and three other universities got back to her," he said, adding that the couple had planned to establish their own research institute.

He described his wife as a loving and caring partner and mother. She made time for her children despite her busy schedule, and didn't like to discipline them.

"She preferred to guide them, to hug them, convince them to do what they should be doing," he said.

The entire family would go to church on Sunday and watch Netflix movies on the weekends and visit relatives at Christmas. She was involved in the PTA and her children's activities, and was working on three novels, he said.

"She proved you could be a wife, mother and a researcher. That you don't have to give up the other two," he said. "There's no reason why a woman can't go out there and be a mother, a wife and have a career that means something."

Anderson hasn't seen Bishop since her arrest, but in their daily telephone conversations, she asks about their children -- three teen girls and an 8-year-old boy.

"She's worried about the kids, wants to make sure they're eating right, doing their homework, that we're all fine here," he said.

Anderson, now a single father to the couple's four children, said the past week has been hard, but that many in the city of Huntsville have rallied around his family. On the night of the arrest, two teachers' from his daughters' school actually came to the house to check on them, he said.

Pastors from their churches -- they attend services at two nondenominational Christian congregations -- have visited to pray with the family.

He said his faith has been tested "to the limit" and had moments when he becomes totally overwhelmed by fear of the future.