CNN reports that a gunman, armed with an assault rifle and explosives, attempted to infiltrate a courthouse in north Georgia on Friday, but was stopped in a firefight that began with a courthouse deputy’s intervention.
Forsyth County Sheriff Duane Piper, speaking at a press conference, said that gunman Dennis Marx was attempting to “get in that front door and take hostages” in what he described as a “frontal assault” on the property.
Piper described that Marx, upon arriving in his vehicle, threw homemade spike strips out his window in an attempt to prevent emergency response to the scene. “It appeared that he was trying to actually drive through the front of the courthouse,” said Piper. “We had a court security deputy who was outside the courthouse at the time doing a sweep. From the video it looks like (Marx) saw that deputy, swerved toward him to try to run over the deputy.”
The deputy exchanged gunfire with Marx, who used his rifle to shoot the deputy in the leg. “He also threw gas grenades–perhaps pepper grenades–during the attack and had flex ties and water in his possession,” the article states.
Soon after, additional deputies from the courthouse and a nearby jail, as well as a SWAT team that happened to be in the area, responded to the scene. They also engaged in gunfire with Marx for about 90 seconds. The gunman died of multiple gunshot wounds.
The wounded deputy is recovering in the hospital and doing “fine,” according to Sheriff Piper.
According to CNN, “Marx was scheduled to attend a hearing at the Forsyth County Courthouse on Friday, but the motive for the attack is still unclear.” Piper declined to discuss the purpose of the hearing.