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.”
Authorities were expected to release the names of the victims Tuesday.
Two police officers were also shot, but were treated at a hospital and released. Chief William Jopp of the Capitol Police, which provides security at state government buildings, said they were protected by their bulletproof vests.
Authorities said the gunman opened fire in the lobby of the courthouse, where people line up to go through metal detectors.
“He did not break the (security) perimeter,” Shavack said.
Jose Beltran, 53, an employee at the courthouse, said he heard two shots, “Boom, Boom,” as he was entering the lobby. Beltran said he heard at least three more shots as he turned around and ran.
“It happened so fast,” he said.
After the shooting, police searched the courthouse room by room as a precaution. Streets around the courthouse remained cordoned off Monday night.
Diana Dorn, who lives right behind the courthouse, said she heard the shooting from her bedroom window.
“You could hear it really clear,” she said.
In response to the shooting, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell’s office said he would return early from a trade mission to India.
“While this shooting is notable for the fact that it took place inside a state courthouse, there are some aspects of this incident that are, unfortunately, all too common,” Markell said in a statement. “I am saddened that two more brave members of our law enforcement community have been injured in the line of duty. I am also saddened that this appears to be another example of a domestic situation that turned deadly.”
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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