Gunman attacks US courthouse, dies in firefight
A man armed with guns and explosives was killed and a police officer wounded in a shootout Friday at a courthouse in the US state of Georgia, authorities said.world Updated: Jun 07, 2014 08:54 IST
A man armed with guns and explosives was killed and a police officer wounded in a shootout Friday at a courthouse in the US state of Georgia, authorities said.
The latest incident came just one day after a gunman killed one person and injured three others at a university in Washington state and two weeks after an apparently mentally disturbed young man opened fire at a California university and killed six people.
Officials identified the suspect as Dennis Marx, a gun seller who had been due in the court Friday on charges of marijuana and gun possession.
The shooting occurred at 9:57am (1357 GMT) in front of the courthouse, said the local sheriff's office in Forsyth county, north of Atlanta, adding the building was then evacuated.
Marx "came for the purpose of occupying the courthouse," armed with explosives and a large stash of ammunition, county sheriff Duane Piper told reporters.
"He had been planning it for a while," Piper added.
Witnesses said the attacker came in a vehicle to the courthouse gate and engaged in a prolonged shootout with police.
The sheriff said Marx also used smoke bombs.
One deputy was wounded in the leg and taken to a nearby hospital, where he was expected to recover, the sheriff told a local news channel, also confirming the suspect had died.
Piper praised the injured officer, suggesting he saved "many lives" through his actions to quickly engage the suspect.
"Mr. Marx's intention was to get inside that front door and to take hostages," the sheriff said.
A bomb squad was sweeping the courthouse and the suspect's home to check for any possible remaining explosives, authorities said.
A police source told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper that Marx was suspected of belonging to the extremist group "Sovereign Citizens," which does not recognize federal, state or local authority.
Ann Shafer, who said she was Marx's lawyer until a few hours before the incident, said she was leaving her car at the courthouse where she was going to resign as his attorney when she heard shots.
"He was at times a little not stable in his understanding of the law or the consequences and always seemed dissatisfied," Shafer said, explaining she resigned because her client was not happy with her defense.