PITTSBURGH – A doctor whose homes were searched this month by federal agents investigating the deadly 2001 anthrax (search) attacks has lost his job at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
"His employment ends on Nov. 8 and he will be on leave until then," UPMC spokesman Frank Raczkiewicz said Wednesday of Dr. Kenneth Berry (search). He would not elaborate.
Berry has not been charged in the anthrax case. On Aug. 5, agents descended on his home and a former apartment in rural western New York, as well as his parents' summer home on the New Jersey shore.
That same day, Berry, who founded an organization in 1997 that trains medical professionals to respond to chemical and biological attacks, was arrested after a domestic dispute at a motel in Point Pleasant Beach, N.J. He is free on bail.
The searches came nearly three years after five people were killed and 17 fell ill when anthrax-laced envelopes were mailed to government offices and news media, triggering even more fear in a country shaken by Sept. 11. The anthrax attacks baffled government investigators, who have turned up few leads.
The Rev. Richard Helms (search), a friend of Berry's in his hometown of Wellsville, N.Y., said Berry told him he was disappointed at being let go from his job as an emergency room doctor.
"They made up all kinds of reasons for it, but you know as well as I do why they let him go," Helms said, referring to the anthrax investigation.
Several attempts to reach Berry by phone and in person have been unsuccessful. Helms said he remains out of town.