The FBI has added Joanne Deborah Chesimard to the list of most wanted terrorists, and in doing so, the first woman.
Chesimard — aka Assata Olugbala Shakur — also happens to be the godmother and aunt of rapper Tupac Shakur. His godfather, consequently, Mutulu Shakur is also incarcerated and was accused of aiding Assata’s eventual escape from prison.
40 years ago, in 1971, Chesimard and two of her cohorts were stopped on the New Jersey turnpike for a broken tail light.
The routine stop allegedly turned into a shoot out that left one New jersey trooper dead and another injured.
Chesimard was convicted in 1973 of first degree murder. She later escaped prison in 1979 and ended up in Cuba on political asylum by 1984.
She has been tried, suspected of, and acquitted of several felonies, to include armed robberies, bank robberies, and execution style slayings of police officers. She’s often attributed as one of the founders of the Black Liberation Army, and the people who knew her well said she was its “soul.”
New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa told NBC, “I’m not going to get into exact means. What we’re saying is there’s now $2 million for her safe return to New Jersey that’s available.”
Chesimard is 65 years-old, but authorities believe she still “remains an inspiration” to militant separatist movements in the U.S.
“Some of those people, and the people that espouse those ideas, are still in this country,” Aaron Ford, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Newark office, told NBC. “So we’d be naïve not to think that there’s some communication between her and the people she used to run around with.”