Man opens fire in gay bar
From correspondents in Boston, Massachusetts
AN 18-year-old man opened fire in a Massachusetts gay bar and attacked patrons with a hatchet, wounding three people, police said overnight.
The attack at Puzzles Lounge in New Bedford, a city about 93 km south of Boston, was being treated as an apparent hate crime.
Police said the man entered the bar, ordered a drink and asked the bartender if he was in a gay bar. When told that it was, he reached into his coat and pulled out a hatchet and attacked the man next to him.
As patrons attempted to restrain him, he drew a gun and fired several shots, wounding two people, police said.
Two of the wounded were flown to a Boston hospital.
The gunman fled. Police later identified him as Jacob Robida, an 18-year-old described as extremely violent. They said he was wanted for three counts of attempted murder and hate crimes related to the attack.
New Bedford was also the scene of another high-profile bar attack – the 1983 gang rape of a woman whose case inspired the 1988 movie The Accused starring Jodie Foster.
All of my family is from New Bedford, and as I child I spent every summer and holiday there. It’s a city that has long been troubled. But in the last year or so I’ve been nursing a small idea about moving back given that I’m betting that there are inexpensive houses and it’s not totally off the map. Now, perhaps not.
(Added) I should say that It’s not so much the incedent itself that makes me rethink it as it is the fact that the incident reminds me of the claustophobia and tensions I felt in New Bedford, things that I had forgotten in the intervening time. Like many other cities in the North East it was properous in the 19th Centurey and then strugglled for much of the 20th. Now it is resolutely blue collar, with limited economic prospects. All of that is appealing to me in some ways, but with much of the population against the wall, people tend to turn on each other.