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Massachusetts authorities accuse woman of unleashing bees on deputies during eviction protest

Hampden, MA, County Sheriff's

By Amir Vera and Rob Frehse, CNN

A woman is facing multiple assault charges after Massachusetts authorities say she unleashed bees on deputies who were enforcing an eviction, according to a release from the Hampden County Sheriff’s Office.

The incident took place on the morning of October 12 at the scene of an ongoing eviction in Longmeadow, just south of Springfield. Rorie Susan Woods, 55, arrived at the site in a blue SUV, the release said, and immediately began opening the lids of the beehives she was towing.

“A Sheriff’s deputy tried to stop her, but as the agitated bees started getting out and circling the area, he pulled back,” the release said.

Woods then allegedly smashed the lid and flipped the hive off the flatbed, agitating the bees even more, the release said. The swarm stung several officers and other nearby bystanders.

At this point, authorities say Woods donned a professional beekeeper suit to protect herself, carrying the tower of bees near the front door of the home in an attempt to stop the eviction, the release said.

Woods allegedly tried to agitate the bees further before she was arrested by deputies, the release said. It is unclear how Woods is connected to the home eviction.

“This woman, who traveled here, put lives in danger as several of the staff on scene are allergic to bees,” said Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi. “We had one staff member go the hospital and luckily, he was alright or she would be facing manslaughter charges. I support people’s right to protest peacefully but when you cross the line and put my staff and the public in danger, I promise you will be arrested.”

Woods is facing four counts of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, three counts of assault by means of a dangerous weapon, and a disorderly conduct charge, according to authorities.

She pleaded not guilty to the charges and was released without having to post bail, according to The Patriot-News. CNN reached out to her attorney Stephen H. Newman for comment.

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CNN’s Laura Ly contributed to this report.

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