Several assault charges have been filed against a woman after she reportedly released bees on deputies who were enforcing an eviction, according to a Hampden County Sheriff’s Office release.
The incident occurred on the morning of October 12 at the site of an ongoing eviction in Longmeadow, just south of Springfield. Rorie Susan Woods, 55, arrived at the site in a blue SUV and immediately began opening the lids of the beehives she was towing, according to the release.
“The deputy tried to stop her, but when the agitated bees started getting out and circling the area, he withdrew,” the release stated.
Woods then allegedly smashed the lid and flipped the hive off the flatbed, further agitating the bees. There were several officers and bystanders stung by the swarm.
Authorities say Woods then donned a professional beekeeper’s suit to protect herself, carrying the tower of bees near the front door to stop the eviction.
The release indicated that Woods tried agitating the bees further before deputies arrested her. Currently, it is not clear how Woods is related to the eviction of the home.
“Several of the staff members on the scene are allergic to bees, so this woman, who traveled here, put lives at risk.” said Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi. “We had one member of staff go to the hospital, and luckily he was okay, or she would have faced charges of manslaughter. I support people’s right to peacefully protest, but if you cross the line and endanger my staff or the public, you will be arrested.”
Among the charges Woods faces are four counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, three counts of assault with a dangerous weapon, and a disorderly conduct charge.
In response to the charges, she pleaded not guilty and was released without posting bail, according to The Patriot-News.
For more coverage on this story, check the following additional news sources:
- Massachusetts authorities accuse woman of unleashing bees on deputies during eviction protest CNN
- Massachusetts woman unleashed swarm of bees on deputies serving eviction notice, police say Fox News
- Woman accused of using bees to attack sheriff’s deputies during Longmeadow eviction CBS Boston
- Bees unleashed in attack on deputies during eviction enforcement, Hampden County sheriff says WCVB Boston
- Massachusetts beekeeper unleashes angry swarm on cops to stop local resident’s eviction New York Post