Court Security

Distraught Litigant in Fla. Courthouse Aims Gun at Own Head Before Judge Talks Him Into Giving Up

Apparently distraught about his divorce case, an armed man entered a South Florida courthouse this morning through an unsecured exit and demanded to speak with a judge while pointing the weapon first at his own chest and then his own head.

Hearing of the situation, a senior judge overseeing a bond call in the Broward County Courthouse went to help a sheriff’s deputy talk with him, but paused as he saw a handgun pointed upwards below the man’s chin, reports the Sun-Sentinel.

Judge Joel Lazarus told the suspect, who has been identified as Marin Stroia, to put the gun down, the newspaper says. Stroia then allegedly told the judge he only had one bullet. Replied Lazarus: “I don’t want that bullet in me.”

Afterward, the judge said Stroia, who reportedly is a licensed security officer, just needed someone to listen to him vent. He promised to write to Stroia and talk to the court’s chief judge on his behalf.

Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti praised both the judge and Sheriff’s Deputy Patrick Kiernan for disregarding their own personal safety as they worked together to calm Stroia down. Kiernan recognized Stroia, the sheriff said, as the same suspect he had arrested outside the courthouse in June after Stroia allegedly talked about suicide.

Although the courthouse has a metal detector at the front door, Stroia simply went in through an unsecured exit door as a line of lawyers and others were waiting to go through the manned main entrance this morning, the article says. Because of a lack of funding, the courthouse has perennial security problems, as well as mold and other issues, according to Lamberti and the newspaper.

“We need to enhance the security at the courthouse,” the sheriff says. “New doors will be an immediate request.”

We welcome your comments, but please adhere to our comment policy and the ABA Code of Conduct.

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.