NEW BEDFORD, Mass. — Police searching the bedroom of an 18-year-old accused of two slayings and a rampage at a gay bar found a cache of weapons, a homemade poster with a Nazi swastika and a troubling final message.
“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,” Bristol County District Attorney Paul Walsh Jr. said Monday.
Jacob D. Robida was fatally wounded Saturday when he opened fire on Arkansas police at the end of a high-speed chase triggered by the killing a small town police officer. Moments before he was killed, police said Robida killed his passenger, a female friend.
Robida carried a small arsenal of weapons as he fled a gun-and-hatchet attack at Puzzles Lounge in New Bedford on Thursday, authorities said. A knife was found outside the lounge, and investigators also found 85 rounds of ammunition, a Samurai sword, one knife and two knife sheaths in Robida’s room at his home, a police report released Monday said.
Walsh said he believes Robida left the note in his bedroom after the attack at Puzzles Lounge but before he left on a 1,500-mile journey to Arkansas. The contents of the note were not officially released.
According to police, Robida shot and killed officer Jim Sell during a traffic stop Saturday afternoon in Gassville, Ark. Then, after a 20-mile chase to Norfork, Robida shot and killed his passenger, Jennifer Rena Bailey, 33, and pointed a gun at pursuing officers, who shot him twice in the head. Robida died Sunday in a Springfield, Mo., hospital.
Hostage or accomplice?
Officers were checking e-mails and Internet correspondence between Robida and Bailey, and hoped to scan surveillance tapes at stores and gas stations to determine whether the West Virginia woman went willingly or as a hostage.
Robida lived in West Virginia with Bailey, a mother of three boys, from sometime in 2004 to February 2005, West Virginia State Police Sgt. C.J. Ellyson said Monday.
“We’re trying to trace down their steps and find out when they hooked up, if she invited him over willingly or if she was abducted,” Ellyson said.
A friend of Bailey’s, Craig Dickinson, believed the woman was abducted.
“She would never leave her kids,” he said in a phone interview from West Virginia with The Associated Press. “I will guarantee she did not know what happened in Massachusetts.”
Bailey ended her relationship with Robida once she realized how disturbed he was, Dickinson said. “This was not some type of Bonnie-and-Clyde episode. She did not go to Arkansas of her own free will,” he said.
There was no sign of forced entry at Bailey’s home and no evidence of a struggle, West Virginia State Police Sgt. Jay Powers said Monday. Powers said her three children were with her mother.
Walsh said he would send investigators to Arkansas and he also wanted to find out how Robida obtained a gun. Handgun owners in Massachusetts must be at least 21.
'A sense that he is one of us'
Wreaths and flower arrangements were placed Monday at the scene of Sell’s shooting and residents brought sympathy cards to the police department. A funeral service was scheduled for Friday.
Walsh said he and others from Massachusetts plan to attend the funeral.
“This is our case, and that officer gave his life basically solving our case,” the prosecutor said. “There is a sense that he is one of us.”
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