AP NEWS
Related topics

Hometown Reacts With Shock, Fear and Anger to Sniper Shooting

January 6, 1991

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (AP) _ At Ma’s Donut and Coffee Shop, the Sunday morning ritual of coffee and chatter turned sober as locals tried to understand why a sniper had fired at a school bus and killed a 14-year-old girl.

″A lot of people are talking about it,″ said 16-year-old waitress Carla Tauaros. ″They’re frightened. They wouldn’t expect something like this to happen.″

Many of the waitresses and patrons in the restaurant in this old port city south of Boston personally knew Robyn Dabrowski. She was killed Saturday when sniper fire bore through a school bus carrying 13 girls to a basketball game at Falmouth.

Susan Arruda, also 14, was injured when she was grazed by the same bullet. She was not hospitalized.

The rear window of a car traveling a few minutes behind the bus on state Route 25 near Bourne, 30 miles from here on the western edge of Cape Cod, also was shattered, but the driver was unharmed.

Waitress Lisa Correira, 16, said she and Miss Dabrowski had been in the same homeroom at school and described her as a ″good kid.″

Miss Correira’s mother, Charlotte Palmer, said the shooting heightened her own fears. ″It could have been my kid on that school bus,″ she said.

Other restaurant patrons expressed anger.

″A guy’s got to be very sick to do that to kids and I’d love to put my hands on him myself,″ said Larry Lacoste.

Police on Sunday continued searching the woods around state Route 25. They had not found any spent cartridges believe used by the sniper.

Officers also had few clues in the case, and had yet to identify a suspect or establish a motive.

An eyewitness told authorities on Saturday that a gray pickup truck, with a license plate attached above the tailgate, had been seen on a dirt access road along Route 25 where the attack took place.

A woman answering the door of Miss Dabrowski’s apartment said the family did not want to talk to news reporters. The girl’s mother, Jo-Ann, had been on the bus when the shooting occurred.

There was no answer at the separate home of the girl’s father, Robert.

Anne O’Hara, manager of a Big Boy’s restaurant near the shooting site, said she believed business was slower than usual on Sunday because of the incident. She said she, too, had felt ″apprehensive″ about being in the area Sunday.

Because both the bus and a car were hit, it ″virtually rules out any possibility that it was accidental or unintentional,″ said Plymouth County District Attorney William O’Malley.

″There is no reason to doubt this is a senseless random act of violence that took this girl’s life,″ O’Malley said. ″The terrible thing about an act like this is that when all is said and done, there is no way to take precautions.″

AP RADIO
Update hourly