Bruce E. Ivins, 62 a microbiologist who worked for the past 18 years at the government’s biodefense labs at Fort Detrick, Md. and for more than a decade, to develop an anthrax vaccine was about to be arrested for his involvement in the 2001 anthrax attacks has apparently committed suicide. If convicted Ivins could have faced the death penalty.
The Fort Detrick laboratory and its specialized scientists for years have been at the center of the FBI’s investigation of the anthrax mailings. In late June, the government exonerated a colleague of Ivins’, Steven Hatfill. Hatfill’s won a $5.82 million judgment against the government as a result of unfounded allegations.
Some think Ivins released the spores to test his vaccine but that has not been proved. The 2001 attack sickened 22 people and killed five.
Ironically Ivins shared the 2003 Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service, the decoration is the highest honor given to civilian Pentagon employees.
Fort Detrick, is located in Maryland and is described on its website as “an Army Medical Installation we are home to the United States Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC)“, and is the county’s largest employer.