WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — Three people were killed in a shooting at a Delaware courthouse that authorities say stemmed from a years-long custody dispute.
The New Castle County Courthouse remained closed Tuesday as workers repaired shattered glass and investigators continued to probe Monday’s shooting, which happened just as the courthouse opened for the day.
Authorities did not identify the gunman but said the shooting was related to a custody dispute that had gone on for years.
Wilmington Mayor Dennis Williams said one of the women killed was the shooter’s estranged wife, but Delaware State Police Sgt. Paul Shavack would not confirm that Monday.
Bill Heriot said he was waiting to enter the courthouse Monday morning when he saw a heavy-set man, who appeared to be in his 50s, pull out a semiautomatic pistol and fire at two women.
“I saw them both go down…. It was very disturbing,” said Heriot, who was a plaintiff in a court case that was to be heard this week.
Heriot said the shooter then exchanged gunfire with police before falling to the floor.
Shavack declined Monday night to confirm Heriot’s account of the shooting, saying investigators were still reviewing surveillance video and taking witness statements.
After the shooting stopped, Heriot said he knelt down beside the first woman who was shot.
“I turned her over and unbuttoned her coat. I saw a single bullet hole in the center of her chest,” Heriot said. “I held her hand, told her it was going to be all right. Her pupils dilated. She turned pale and passed away.”
Chick Chinski, 62, of Middletown, also said the shooter seemed to deliberately target the two women who were killed.
“Absolutely,” said Chinski, who was reporting for jury duty. “It’s right what he went after when he come in the door. That’s exactly what he did instantly.”