Court Security

News Reports: Lawyer Outran Gunman, Escaped Law Office via Side Door as Suspect Searched for Him

David G. DeFazio has had problems at work before and even thought that individuals might be dangerous. But never in his 14 years of practice did the Virginia matrimonial attorney expect to see a gunman level a rifle at him in his law firm’s parking lot.

That’s what reportedly happened Thursday, however, as the 39-year-old lawyer returned from lunch at about 1:30 p.m. As he got out of his car, a client’s ex-husband called out his name and pointed the gun at him, DeFazio told the Richmond Times-Dispatch and WTVR.

The Barnes & Diehl attorney started running for his life. “I took off into the building; I heard the shot and saw the shot hit the wall in front of me as I’m running through the building,” DeFazio told the newspaper.

The attorney sprinted out a side door, then around a retention pond toward Courthouse Road and Route 10, near the main Chesterfield County courthouse. He hoped to spot a police officer there, since the law firm is right across the street from the courthouse, but didn’t see one and kept running into the woods on the other side of the intersection. When he looked around to see if the suspect was still chasing him, DeFazio didn’t see him. Then he began worrying about what might be happening at his law office.

As he later found out, the gunman had grabbed a staff member and entered the law office building to search for him, DeFazio told the Times-Dispatch. Meanwhile, the attorney had called 911 from his cellphone in the woods and flagged down one of the multiple responders that soon arrived.

The suspected gunman, who has been identified as Mark Lowe, 41, had asked for him at the law office earlier but was told the attorney was at lunch, authorities say. They credit an off-duty Capitol police officer and a plainclothes Chesterfield police officer for disarming and arresting him, as detailed in an earlier post.

Lowe was charged with attempted murder, abduction, use of a firearm in a felony and shooting into an occupied dwelling, the articles say, and is being held with bail pending a Chesterfield General District Court hearing today.

DeFazio said a court hearing in Lowe’s child-custody case on June 11 didn’t go his way, as Lowe found out Wednesday, the Times-Dispatch reports.

DeFazio, who currently serves as president of the Chesterfield Bar Association, says he had never anticipated having such a day at the office and is now going to have to think about some things, according to the newspaper and WTVR.

“I’ve certainly had heated, cussing disputes and certainly thought people were dangerous before, but I never really had any credible worries,” he told the Times-Dispatch. “I certainly didn’t expect this.”

Lowe appeared in court today via videoconference from the Chesterfield Jail, another WTVR article reports. The judge didn’t set bond but appointed attorney Neil Stout to represent Lowe. A preliminary hearing is scheduled in September.

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