A woman in Massachusetts is facing multiple assault and battery charges after allegedly releasing a swarm of bees on a group of Sheriff's deputies who were enforcing eviction notices.
On the morning of October 12, Hampden County Sheriff’s Department deputies drove to a residence in Longmeadow to enforce an eviction notice when they were met by protestors.
Joining the demonstrators was Rorie S. Woods, 55, who drove an SUV with a trailer in tow filled with manufactured bee hives to the location.
Once she arrived, Woods reportedly shook the bee hives and unleashed the swarm of hundreds of "aggressive" bees on the deputies.
Hampden County Sheriff Nicholas Cocchi said in a statement:
"A Sheriff’s deputy tried to stop her, but as the agitated bees started getting out and circling the area, he pulled back."
"She then smashed the lid, and flipped a hive off of the flatbed, making the bees extremely aggressive."
"They swarmed the area and stung several officers and other innocent bystanders who were nearby."
Three of the Sheriff’s department employees are allergic to bee stings. One Deputy was taken to the emergency room after being stung.
When informed about the Deputies' vulnerability, Woods responded:
“Oh, you’re allergic? Good."
You can watch the ABC News report, here.
Protester armed with beesyoutu.be
Cocchi added Woods donned a protective beekeeper's suit and carried a tower of bees to the front door of the home to further agitate the bees in an attempt to prevent the eviction process.
Photos showed her being arrested still wearing the beekeeper's suit.
"This woman, who traveled here, put lives in danger as several of the staff on the scene are allergic to bees," confirmed 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."
According to ABC News, Woods did not personally know the resident of the home where the deputies showed up but she has been known to travel outside the area to protest for the cause.
Officials said the 9,563 square feet residence with seven bedrooms and nine bathrooms, located at 49 Memery Lane, was involved in a dispute over its ownership tied to a bankruptcy case.
The incident follows a post-pandemic economy in which homeowners and tenants are financially struggling amidst rising interest rates on loans along with rent hikes across the country.
Since early 2020, rent prices increased 20% nationally, eviction moratoriums that were put in place during the pandemic have expired, and federal aid programs have been winding down.
According to court records obtained by NBC News via Masslive.com, Woods pleaded not guilty at her arraignment on October 12 in Springfield District Court.
ABC News reported that Woods was released on bail but was seen protesting again the following day, this time, without her winged army.