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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
February 10, 2006

Bar rampage ends with three dead in Arkansas

New Bedford, Mass.--A teenager obsessed with the white supremacist movement attacked a gay bar before embarking on a road trip that ended in Arkansas with the deaths of himself, a police officer and a friend.

Jacob Robida, 18, went into Puzzles Lounge on February 1 and asked if it was a gay bar. After being told that it was, he proffered a fake ID and ordered a drink, sitting alone at the bar. He ordered another, then went to the back, where patrons were playing pool.

Robida then began attacking the pool players with a hatchet before pulling out a gun and shooting two of the patrons. He held the gun up to the bartender�s head and pulled the trigger again, but was out of bullets.

He ran out of the bar and returned briefly to his home.

One of the customers recognized Robida from his school, and told police who he was. However, by the time police tried to arrest him, he had fled.

Robida drove to Charleston, West Virginia, where he picked up 33-year old Jennifer Rena Bailey. Robida had lived with Bailey and her three sons for a period in 2004 and 2005.

As they were driving through Arkansas on February 4, Robida was pulled over in a routine traffic stop in Gassville. The young man shot and killed 63-year-old Gassville police officer Jim Sell.

That started a chase that ended in nearby Norfork, Arkansas, where Robida apparently shot Bailey before pointing his weapon at police. Officers opened fire, but an autopsy showed that the two bullets that killed him came from his own 9mm handgun, the same one used in the attack on Puzzles.

He was taken to a hospital in Springfield, Missouri, where he later died.

Police found a sword, a knife, two sheaths and 85 rounds of ammunition in Robida�s room, which was adorned with Nazi paraphernalia and racist writings. Police also found a farewell letter to his mother.

�I have to go out by my means,� the Boston Globe reports the letter as saying, in part.

�We didn�t interpret it necessarily as a suicide note, but it was certainly the note of a desperate man who had some plans to continue doing something violent,� said Bristol County District Attorney Paul Walsh Jr.

Robida�s personal webpage on MySpace.com contained neo-Nazi references like the number code 14/88, symbolizing the phrase �Heil Hitler� and a 14-word white supremacist credo, as well as a virtual shrine to the white rap group Insane Clown Posse from Michigan, who speak out against racism in their lyrics.

Other teens who knew Robida were surprised at his rampage.

Jennifer Crosby, who described herself as �part black and a lesbian,� said that she never heard Robida voice any homophobic opinions, and Heather Volton, who had known him for over a year, said that �the kid never so much as raised his voice at me.�

Mayor Scott Lang of New Bedford visited Puzzles on February 4 to let the patrons know that Robida had been apprehended.

Robert Perry, struck twice by Robida�s hatchet, was out of the hospital and at the bar when Lang visited. Alex Taylor, another victim, was in serious condition in the hospital after having been hit in the head with the hatchet and shot, according to his mother. No information was available on the condition of Luis Rosado, shot by Robida as he came out of the bar�s restroom.

 

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