Woman accused of unleashing a swarm of bees on deputies during suspension


When Rorie Woods wanted to stop sheriff’s deputies from carrying out a court-ordered eviction last week, Rorie Woods turned to a “dangerous weapon,” authorities said.

Woods reportedly pulled up to the home where the eviction took place, got out of her SUV and walked back to the flatbed she had pulled to the tony neighborhood of Longmeadow, Mass., a town of nearly 16,000 on the Connecticut state line.

She then released hundreds of bees from the hives she had brought with her, according to the sheriff’s office.

Several deputies were stabbed before they could arrest Woods, officials said. She has since been charged with four counts of aggravated assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, three counts of aggravated assault with a dangerous weapon and disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor.

Woods “put lives at risk as several of the staff at the location are allergic to bees,” Sheriff Nick Cocchi said in a statement. “We had an employee leave [to] the hospital and luckily he was okay or she would have been charged with manslaughter.”

Woods, 55, has pleaded not guilty to all eight charges. She could not immediately be reached Wednesday, and her attorney did not respond to a request for comment from The Washington Post.

Around. 9.15 on 12 October deputies arrived at a five-bed, 5½-bath colonial valued at nearly $1.3 million to serve an eviction order, the Hampden County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. Several protesters were gathered at the top of the cul-de-sac. Informed that the resident was at the courthouse in a last-ditch effort to delay the eviction, deputies waited for him to return.

Minutes later, Woods pulled his blue Nissan Xterra into the driveway, dragging four or five large beehives, Deputy Chief Daniel Soto said in a report. Woods left his dog in the SUV and allegedly went to the back of the trailer and shook the hives to agitate the bees.

She then went to open them, the report said. After noticing what was happening, Deputy Director Michael Joslyn tried to intervene. Woods then allegedly broke the lid off a beehive, causing hundreds of bees to swarm the area. Woods knocked one of the hives off the flatbed truck, which made the bees “extremely aggressive,” the sheriff’s office said in the news release.

“Deputy Mayor Joslyn was then stabbed in the face and had to retreat,” Soto said in his report.

After donning a professional beekeeper suit, Woods allegedly opened several hives. She then rolled one of the flatbed trucks to the house’s entrance and “opened” it wide to block deputies, Soto wrote in her report. There she allegedly tried to incite them even more.

“The officers at this point attempted to stop [Woods] but was attacked by the bees,” Soto’s report states.

Some deputies sought shelter inside the nearly 7,900-square-foot home. By the end of it, three deputies and a photographer from the sheriff’s office were stabbed in the face, hand, ear and back of the head, according to the report. The photographer was taken to hospital. The bees also stung several spectators.

Eventually, two deputies navigated the swarm and arrested Woods, taking her to the ground after she resisted, the report said. While walking her to a police cruiser, one of them told Woods that he and several of his other deputies were allergic to bees, according to the report.

“Oh, you’re allergic? Good,” she allegedly replied.

Meanwhile, the protesters gathered around them and screamed at deputies not to arrest Woods, according to the report.

Around. At 9:45 a.m., about 25 minutes after Woods arrived, deputies put her in the back of a cruiser and drove her about 8 miles to the regional women’s jail. She was arraigned later that day and released on a promise to return for future hearings, sheriff’s office spokesman Robert Rizzuto said.

It is unclear whether Woods knows the resident of the five-bedroom home. In 2018, Woods appealed her own eviction, which she had been fighting for for several years, MassLive reported.

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