AP: Man Held in Bar Attack Dies After Shootout (update)

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Tom Dempsey

Feb 5, 2006, 12:21:40 PM2/5/06
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Man Held in Bar Attack Dies After Shootout

By NOAH TRISTER, Associated Press Writer 24 minutes ago

GASSVILLE, Ark. - The teenager suspected of a hatchet-and-gun attack in a Massachusetts gay bar and in the killing of two people in Arkansas, including a policeman, died Sunday of wounds suffered in a gun battle with officers, authorities said.

Jacob D. Robida, 18, died at 3:38 a.m. Sunday at Cox-South Hospital in Springfield, Mo., said hospital spokesman Randy Berger.

Robida, a high school dropout who friends said glorified Naziism, was shot twice in the head in a shootout with police Saturday after he killed a Gassville police officer and a woman in his car, authorities said.

Two days earlier, he allegedly went on a rampage at the Puzzles Lounge in New Bedford, Mass., that injured three men, one critically. Police labeled that attack a hate crime.

"I wish he would have lived and gone on trial," said Dan Sheterom, 51, who lives above Puzzles Lounge and frequents the tavern. "I would have liked to have seen if the commonwealth here would have taken it up to the federal government as a hate crime."

Before Robida's death, Massachusetts police had said he would be charged with attempted murder, assault and civil rights violations in the attack. In Arkansas, killing a police officer is punishable by death.

Robida's friends said he had, at times, glorified Nazism and bore a swastika tattoo, but had not previously expressed prejudice toward homosexuals.

Rep. Barney Frank (news, bio, voting record), the openly gay congressman whose district includes New Bedford, said the community has a history of tolerance.

"This is not some general problem with the people of New Bedford," Frank said. "This is one disturbed 18-year-old."

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