Suspect 'obsessed' With Wounded US Agent's Wife

Published February 10, 2012 3:09AM (EST)

NEWARK, Calif. (AP) — A suspect in the shooting of a customs agent was romantically obsessed with the victim's wife, whom he met last year while he was an instructor and she was a student at a Bay Area school for aspiring opticians, court documents filed Thursday alleged.

Dennis Bagwell, 61, was arraigned Thursday but did not enter a plea to charges of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon, according to the Fremont Argus.

The hearing came two days after authorities say he shot and wounded Robert Suplik, 61, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent at San Francisco International Airport, outside Suplik's home in Newark.

A detective's statement outlining the grounds for Bagwell's arrest states that he had tried to start a relationship with Suplik's wife, Iryna Smith, but that she had politely rejected his advances and remained on friendly terms, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Bagwell, however, "behaved erratically" at times and was seen "lurking in the bushes" outside the couple's home, Newark Police Detective Dan Anderson wrote. Suplik once confronted Bagwell and told him to leave his wife alone, police said.

Suplik identified Bagwell as the shooter, and his wife told police she recognized a jacket and baseball cap left at the scene as his, the arrest statement said. Bagwell's daughter also reported that her father, who met Smith father had "fantasized and fabricated an imaginary relationship with this woman and was trying to drive a wedge between the woman and her husband," Anderson wrote.

Bagwell met Smith while she was completing a four-month program at Bay Area Optical Schools in Union City.

By Salon Staff

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