WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — A 68-year-old man whose son was engaged in a bitter custody battle was identified Tuesday as the gunman who opened fire in a Delaware courthouse lobby, killing his former daughter-in-law and another woman. The gunman also died after exchanging fire with officers.
Delaware State Police said Thomas Matusiewicz of Edcouch, Texas, shot 39-year-old Christine Belford and her 47-year-old friend Laura Mulford on Monday. Two police hit by gunfire were protected by their armored vests.
Police were awaiting autopsy results Tuesday to determine whether Matusiewicz was killed by police or shot himself with his .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun.
State police homicide detectives continued interviewing witnesses, viewing surveillance videos and collecting evidence at the New Castle County Courthouse, which remained closed.
Authorities said Belford and Mulford, both from Newark, were at the courthouse to attend a child support arrears hearing for Belford’s ex-husband, David Matusiewicz.
State police spokesman Sgt. Paul Shavack said David Matusiewicz, 45, was being questioned and was in custody on a federal probation technicality. He did not provide details. A hearing was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon on that matter.
David Matusiewicz, a former optometrist, pleaded guilty in 2009 to federal fraud and kidnapping charges after fleeing to Nicaragua in a motor home with his mother and three young daughters. Investigators said Matusiewicz, who was released from prison last year, kidnapped the girls after forging his ex-wife’s name on a loan document.
According to court records, Matusiewicz took the girls to Central America in 2007 after telling Belford they were going to Disney World for two weeks. The couple was sharing custody at the time. Before their divorce, they’d lived in Middletown together.
Lenore Matusiewicz, the children’s grandmother and gunman’s wife, pleaded guilty to endangering the girls’ welfare and was sentenced to 18 months in prison in the kidnapping plot.