Criminal Justice

3 dead, 2 wounded in Delaware courthouse shooting

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Updated: Two women were shot and killed and two police officers were wounded at a Delaware courthouse Monday morning before the gunman was killed.

Thomas Matusiewicz is the man identified as the shooter, according to the News Journal. One of the women killed was Christine Belford, his ex-daughter-in-law. Matusiewicz’s son David (originally misidentified as the shooter) was released from prison in April 2012 after being sentenced in 2009 for the international kidnapping of the couple’s three daughters and for bank fraud.

A later News Journal article said the women were at the courthouse Monday for a child-support hearing with David Matusiewicz, as detailed in a subsequent post.

Courthouse employees took cover as they heard at least five shots ring out about 8 a.m. The incident began after the shooter was stopped by Capitol Police at a security checkpoint, reports an earlier News Journal story.

Baltimore lawyer and Work Product blogger Jennifer Lubinski witnessed the shooting and tweeted her experience. The Atlantic Wire noted Lubinski’s tweets, saying they offer “a terrifying chronicle of yet another shooting in the age of the live-tweet, but it’s also perhaps one of the most detailed and lengthy accountings of citizen journalism from someone hiding from a gunman in public.”

“I’ve never heard of anything like this happening in Delaware. It’s a wild situation,’’ public defender Ferris Wharton, a former chief deputy attorney general who has worked in the state’s courthouses for 30 years, told the News Journal after the shooting. He said a worker in his office saw a dead body in the lobby, bullet holes in the window by a courthouse entrance and shell casings on the ground when he arrived at work this morning.

Although the News Journal article indicates that Matusiewicz shot the women, Bloomberg says police have not determined whether the women were shot by the gunman or caught in the apparent crossfire. According to CNN, Wilmington Mayor Dennis Williams told reporters that Matusiewicz was killed by police.

Fox 29 News says Capitol Police shot and killed the assailant.

The courthouse was put on lockdown after the shooting as teams from multiple police agencies searched floor by floor to make sure that there was no other gunman elsewhere. The courthouse will be closed on Tuesday with counseling services offered to personnel, according to another News Journal article.

The Wilmington police chief had been scheduled to appear that day at a roundtable discussion about gun control with Vice President Joe Biden and members of Congress.

Last updated on Feb. 12 to include information about child-support hearing and link to subsequent post.

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