The FBI has added the first woman ever to its list of Most Wanted Terrorists: Joanne Chesimard — a fugitive convicted of killing a New Jersey state trooper, and the godmother of murdered rapper Tupac Shakur.
Law enforcement made the announcement Thursday, on the 40th anniversary of the murder.
“Joanne Chesimard is a domestic terrorist who murdered a law enforcement officer execution-style,” Aaron Ford, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Newark Division, said in a statement.
“Today, on the anniversary of Trooper Werner Foerster’s death, we want the public to know that we will not rest until this fugitive is brought to justice.”
Chesimard was a member of the violent, left-wing Black Liberation Army, and at the time she killed a trooper, she was already wanted for a number of felonies including bank robbery.
The FBI explains that on May 2, 1973, Chesimard and her accomplices were stopped by troopers for a vehicle violation. Chesimard and her accomplices fired at the troopers, wounding one and killing another at “point-blank range.”
In 1977, she was found guilty of first-degree murder and other crimes and sentenced to life in prison. She escaped prison in 1979.
“Armed domestic terrorists gained entry into the facility, neutralized the guards, broke her free, and turned her over to a nearby getaway team,” Mike Rinaldi, a lieutenant in the New Jersey State Police and member of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in Newark, explained.
Chesimard has since been granted asylum in Cuba and now calls herself Assata Shakur. She often speaks out publicly against the United States from her Cuban haven.
The FBI is offering a reward of up to $1 million for information leading to her arrest. The state of New Jersey is also offering a reward of up to $1 million.