ABA Journal


Court Security

Gunman fires AK-47 at federal courthouse, is shot to death

Oct 9, 2013, 09:29 pm CDT


Martha, you simply must do a follow up article we really want to know the motive. It states a former police officer, there must be a reason?

By concernedcitizen on 2013 10 09, 10:14 pm CDT

Looks like this time, the good guys with the guns stopped the bad guy with a gun. They should sue his estate for the damage to the building.

By B. McLeod on 2013 10 09, 10:55 pm CDT

Sounds like suicide by cop.

By Paul the Magyar on 2013 10 11, 3:42 am CDT

I love how after every shooting like this people always ask, "what was his motive?" It's the same answer every time: the guy is loony. Can't we just accept that people go crazy? Our courts have determined that everyone has the right to own guns, so obviously a percentage of gun owners will consist of crazy people.
And honestly, tell me one "motive" that would make this guy not be classified as crazy?

By Smeliot on 2013 10 11, 1:23 pm CDT

Smeliot - if he was just loony, wouldn't it be easier to target a mall, park, or school? Why are people targeting the U.S. federal government and its facilities? They are tired of being taken for a ride, abused, robbed, and mistreated by the U.S. federal government and its army of thugs.

By Ignorance is no excuse on 2013 10 11, 1:48 pm CDT

Comment removed by moderator.

By Keith on 2013 10 11, 2:05 pm CDT

It might have been a suicide.

By Pogo on 2013 10 11, 2:31 pm CDT

Good. People who commit crimes with guns do not deserve to walk the earth. A bad guy with a gun is a very dangerous thing. A good guy with a gun is no threat to anyone - except for a bad guy with a gun.

By Jason L. Van Dyke on 2013 10 11, 2:49 pm CDT

"They are tired of being taken for a ride, abused, robbed, and mistreated by the U.S. federal government and its army of thugs."

In other words, another victim of Faux News exposure.

By Ham Solo on 2013 10 11, 2:52 pm CDT

let's expand the speculation of suicide by cop: he has terminal cancer; he buys or increases life insurance but it has a 2 year suicide exclusion; someone else kills him, cha-ching.

However, there may be a "while committing a criminal act" exclusion. Ooops.

(as an aside, if a drunk person dies in a single vehicle accident, would the "criminal act" exclusion apply? what if he was texting at the time? Not wearing a seatbelt? Operating with a tail light out?
Sorry, it's Friday and a "slow news day" for the Journal.)

By Hadley V. Baxendale on 2013 10 11, 3:17 pm CDT

As far as motive goes, it looks like an obvious case of "Suicide by cop," committed by a cop who should know how such things work. It also seems like he was careful not to kill or seriously injure anybody else, which probably rules out legal insanity (or demonic possession, in Justice Scalia's world view).

By Charlie Rogers on 2013 10 11, 3:29 pm CDT

@5 so people who "are tired of being taken for a ride, abused, robbed, and mistreated by the U.S. federal government and its army of thugs" are not crazy when they start shooting at a courthouse?
If a person shoots up a furniture store, does it really matter whether or not the store over charged for a sofa? Any person who shoots up any group of people does so because they are crazy. Some people just go crazy, even if just momentarily. Unfortunately, since guns are so accessible, it's easy to turn that momentary bout of craziness into mass murder.

By Smeliot on 2013 10 11, 4:03 pm CDT

I agree that it looks like suicide by cop. Our studies of high school targeted shootings, following similar results by the U.S. Secret Service, show that the student shooters were a) retaliating for being bullied or sexually harassed b) committing suicide by cop, apparently with some sort of delusion of grandeur

By Gary Avery on 2013 10 11, 5:36 pm CDT

Regardless of the motive, it seems worth highlighting that without some substantial record of mental illness, the perpetrator would likely have had absolutely no difficulty legally obtaining firearms, as a former LEO. Background checks and the like, local police approval of carry permits, and similar "common sense" gun control measures would not have been a serious impediment to this particular shooter. The statist bureaucracy is always tilted to favor their own, even after retirement. This favoritism doesn't have any basis in logic, since it seems to be tilted to disfavor military veterans.

By ruralcounsel on 2013 10 11, 6:22 pm CDT

I am curious as to why and how the U.S. Attorney ( Mr. Ihlenfeld ) can be so "confident" so soon after the incident that "...[ suspect Thomas Picard] did not have a specific beef with anyone in particular in the federal building". One would think a thorough investigation would be had first before such statements would be made by the U.S. Attorney.

By charlegman on 2013 10 16, 9:16 pm CDT

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