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Autopsy: Robida shot himself

Jacob D. Robida ended the crime spree that started in a New Bedford bar by shooting himself in the head on a rural Arkansas road when he was surrounded by police, authorities said this afternoon.

Authorities had initially reported that police shot Robida in Norfolk, Ark., on Saturday after a 16-mile chase that started when he shot and killed Police Officer Jim Sell in Gassville. But an autopsy found that the fatal bullet came from the gun that Robida had just used to kill his female passenger, Jennifer Rena Bailey, 33, of West Virginia, said Bristol District Attorney Paul F. Walsh Jr.

Police had searched for Robida since early Thursday, when they say he used a hatchet and handgun to wound three men at Puzzles Lounge, a gay bar in New Bedford.

"Those bullets are consistent with the 9 millimeter weapon used at the bar in New Bedford, consistent with the 9 millimeter weapon found in the car in Norfork, Arkansas, and inconsistent with the weapons used by Arkansas authorities," Walsh said.

Robida was shot just once, he said, adding that two of his investigators are in Arkansas and reviewed Robida's autopsy report.

"My understanding is that no police bullets penetrated the car," Walsh said.

The district attorney said officers fired on the suspicion that Robida was shooting at them because there were two gunshots from inside the car.

"It's a fair inference that they thought they were being fired upon," he said.

Walsh said Tuesday that the suicide confirms his early suspicion that Robida remained dangerous.

"He was prepared not to come out of this alive," Walsh said.

Funeral services for Sell have been scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday at the East Side Baptist Church in Mountain Home, Ark. A graveside service was to follow at the Baxter Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Mountain Home.

Sell worked in the Blytheville Police Department for 30 years, retiring as a captain. He joined the Gassville department on Oct. 13, 2003.

Law officers from around the country are expected to take part in the Friday service, officials in Baxter County said. New Bedford Deputy Chief of Police David A. Provencher said Monday he and Mayor Scott W. Lang were planning to bring several officers to Mountain Home for the funeral.

"Quite honestly, I feel almost like we lost one of our own," Provencher said. "It originated here and unfortunately was brought to your area and ended tragically. I feel like we need to come to your area and honor his sacrifice, made by Officer Sell."

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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