Sunday, February 14, 2010
To: First Assistant District Attorney John P.
From: Trooper Brian L. Howe #1332 BLH
Shooting of Seth Bishop, White Male,
D.O.B. 4/9/68 At 46 Hollis Avenue,
Braintree, Massachusetts on December 6, 1986.
On December 6, 1986, this officer was directed by
Detective Lieutenant James Sharkey to conduct an investigation into the fatal
shooting of Seth Bishop at his residence of 46 Hollis Avenue in the Town of
This officer contacted Captain Theodore Buker of the Braintree
Police Department and was informed by Captain Buker that at approximately 1422
hours on December 6, 1986, the Braintree Police Department had responded to the
report of a shooting a 46 Hollis Avenue in their town.
Upon arriving at
the location, Officers Jordan and Murphy had observed the decedent lying on his
back on the floor in a pool of blood in the kitchen area, with a large chest
Paramedics responded to the scene and after administering
preliminary first aid, transported the victim to the Quincy City Hospital where
he was subsequently pronounced dead at 1506 hours, by Dr. Thomas Divinigracia.
Initial cause of death of a victim was reported to be a ruptured aorta as a
result of a gunshot wound to the chest.
Captain Buker stated that
preliminary investigation conducted by Officers Jordan and Murphy indicated that
the victim had been shot by his sister, Amy Bishop (age 19), and that apparent
cause of the gunshot discharge into the victim had been accidental in nature.
Captain Buker further stated that indications were that Amy Bishop had been
attempting to manipulate the shotgun and had subsequently brought the gun
downstairs in an attempt to gain assistance from her mother in disarming the
During her attempt to disarm the weapon in the kitchen of her
residence, the weapon had apparently accidentally discharged, resulting in the
fatal wound inflicted upon her brother.
Captain Buker further stated that
at the time the discharge occurred, Judy Bishop, the mother of both the victim
and Amy, had been in the kitchen and had witnessed the entire incident. Judy
Bishop had indicated to the responding officers that the discharge had been
accidental in nature and that the discharge had occurred while Amy was
attempting to unload the weapon.
Captain Buker also stated that Amy
Bishop had fled the residence immediately upon discharging the weapon and had
subsequently been located by Braintree Officers and brought to the Braintree
Police Department for questioning.
Captain Buker stated that due to the
highly emotional state of Amy Bishop, it had generally been impossible to
question her while she was at the Braintree Police Department relative to the
circumstances of the firearm discharge, and that as a result of these facts, she
was thereupon released to the custody of her parents with further investigation
to follow at a future time.
This officer therefor determined that due to
the inability to question the witnesses at that time as a result of their highly
emotional state and their inability to recall specifically the facts relating to
this occurrence, as well as the fact that Judy Bishop stated that she had
witnessed the entire affair and the discharge had been accidental in nature, it
was determined that additional interviews would be conducted at a later time,
allowing the witnesses a sufficient time to stabilize their emotions.
December 6, 1986, an autopsy was conducted on Seth bishop at the Qyuincy City
Hospital by Dr. George Katsas with Dr. William Riddle in attendance. The autopsy
began at approximately 2000 hours with the cause of death having been determined
to be the result of a shotgun discharge to the left chest area.
also be noted that a check of firearms identification cards at Braintree Police
Department indicated and F.I.D. card issued to Seth bishop, card #H590682, as
well as n F.I.D. card issued to Samuel Bishop father of SEth, card
Captain Buker had also indicated to this officer that numerous
photographs had been taken at the scene of the shooting as well as at the
autopsty coundcted on the victim.
The weapon which had been utilized in
the death of Seth Bishop had been secured by the Braintree Police Department for
firther processing by the State Police Ballistics
Arrangements were subsequently made to conduct interviews of
all of the members of the Bishop family and thereupon, on December 17, 1986,
this officer, Captian Theodore Buker and Detective Michael Carey of the
Braintree Police Department procdeede to 46 Hollis Avenue in the Town of
Individually, Samuel, Judy, and Amy Bishop were interviewed by
these officers with the resulting statments taken.
Samuel Bishop stated
that he had not been in the residence at the time of the shooting, He said that
he had left the house at approximately 1130 hours to go shopping at the South
Shore Plaza. He stated that at the time he left the residence, his son Seth had
been washing his car, Amy was the house and his wife, Judy, was due to be home
at sometime between 1100 and 1200 hours. Samuel stated that he had a disagrrment
with Amy before he left about a comment that she made, and that she had gone to
her room prior to his departing. He stated that upon his return to the
residence, police and ambulance were at the house and that he was adivsed of the
situation relating to the shooting of his son.
When questioned as to the
actual possession of the shotgun within his residence, he stated that he had
bought the shotgun at Coleman’s Sporting Goods in Canton, approximately one year
previously, and that he and his son, Seth, had belonged to the Braintree Rifle
Club. He stated that the gun had been unloaded, on top of a trunk in a rifle
case in his upstairs bedroom also. He further stated that Amy had not been
trained in the use of the weapon and that the weapon had orginally been
purchased for family protection as a result of a previous housebreak at their
These officer then interviewed Judy Bishop, the mother of the
victim who stated that on the day of the shooting, she had left the house at
approximately 0700 hours and that ll other family members had been in the house
at the time. She stated that she returned to the residence to see if there was
anything for lunch, and that at this time, Seth was home and stated that he
would go to the store to pick up some food so that they could all have
Judy further stated that Seth returned from the grocery store,
went into the livingroom and turned on television. She stated that he was on his
way into the kitchen when Amy came downstairs with the shotgun, and asked Judy
if she could help her unload the gun. Judy state that she told Amy not to point
the gun at anyone, and that Amy then turned, and in doing so, somehow discharged
the weapon which subsequently hit her son Seth who was walking into the kitchen
from the living room.
Judy stated that she screamed and theupon Amy ran
out of the house. Judy state that she then called the police and waited at the
front door fo the arrival of the police, but she further added that she knew
that Seth could not live as the result of the injury which he had
When questioned relative to any prior discharges of the weapon
inside the residence on the day in question, Judy stated that she did not hear
any other shots fired, in particular, and shots fired in the upstairs bedroom,
but she believed that the house was realtively well soundproofed and that such a
discharge would not necessarily be hear on another floor of the
Judy state that she did not feel that she had any knowledge of any
other relvant facts relating to the investigation to convey to these
These officers then conducted an interview with Amy Bishop who
stated that on the morning of the shooting, her mother had gone out and that her
father had gone shopping. Amy stated that she did not know where her brother was
during the day but thought that it would be a good idea if she learned how to
load the shotgun in the house. Amy stated that she was concerned for her own
safety on occasions as a result of the break which had previously occurred at
their home, and she often read and heard of stories about things that happened
when people break into houses and find other people inside.
that she got the gun from her parents’ room where she found it on the chest and
the bullets were on the bureau. She stated that she put the shells into the gun
and then tried to get them out but was unsuccessful in doing this even though
she attempted to unscrew the bottom casing of the gun. She stated that while she
was attempting to unload the weapon which was on her bed, it discharged into her
room, but that she is unsure as whether or not her bedroom door was open at the
time. She stated that she was beside her bed near the door at the time that the
gun discharged, but that she couldn’t specifically recall seeing anything coming
out of the gun.
Amy further stated that she does not recall putting any
additional bullets into the gun after it discharged, and that she then unscrewed
the bottom of the shaft in an attempt to empty the weapon, and when being unable
to empty the weapon this way, she stated that she then screwed the bottom of the
shaft back on.
Amy stated that she then heard her brother come into the
house downstairs and she went right downstairs to ask Seth to help her unload
the gun. She said apparently her mother had been in the kitchen for awhile and
that Amy went down the front set of stairs, through the dining room, to the door
by the kitchen. She stated that she asked her brother to unload the weapon
because she thought it might still be loaded and she added that her mother said
something to her but she does not specifically recall what it was.
said that she was carrying the gun pointed beside her leg, and that Seth told
her to point the gun up. Amy stated that Seth was walking across the kitchen
between Amy and her mother and that Amy had the gun in one hand and started to
raise it. Amy further stated that someone said something to her and she turned
and the gun went off. She stated that she remembered her brother saying, “Oh
God,” and her mother screaming, and that Amy though that she had ruined the
kitchen but was not aware of the fact that she had struck her brother with the
Amy stated that she then immediately ran out the rear
door of the kitchen and thought that she had dropped the gun as she ran away.
She stated that at the time the gun went off, she was by the dining room door to
the kitchen. Amy also said that she does not recall putting on a jacket prior to
running out of the house or leaving the house with the gun and that she cannot
recall anything else until she subsequently saw her mother at the police
Amy did tell these officers that her brother Seth had verbally
told her previously how to hold the gun but that she had always previously been
afraid of it. Amy concluded the investigation by saying that she had previously
made no attempt to cover up the hole in her bedroom wall which apparently,
according to her, was the result of the previous discharge in her
Amy stated that she was not aware of any additional facts which
could assist these officers in their investigation into the death of her
brother, and she reiterated adamantly that the discharge had been accidental and
that she was still having a very difficult time dealing with what had occurred
and was currently under medication with a doctor’s care.
As a result of
these foregoing facts, a meeting was conducted between this officer, Captain
Buker and Detective Carey. It was determined that due to the testimony of the
members of the Bishop family and, in particular, to the testimony of Judy Bishop
relevant to the facts concerning the death of Seth Bishop that no further
investigation into the death of Seth Bishop was warranted.
therefore determined that the cause of death of Seth Bishop would be listed as
the accidental discharge of his sister, Amy Bishop, and that the investigation
would be concluded.