WILMINGTON, Del. (TheBlaze/AP) — A gunman opened fire Monday morning in a Delaware courthouse lobby just as the building was opening to the public for the day, exchanging shots with police and leaving three people – including the shooter – dead, authorities said.
“It happened so fast,” said Jose Beltran, 53, an employee at the New Castle County Courthouse who was entering the lobby when he heard two shots. He said he turned around and heard three or more shots as he ran.
Delaware State Police Sgt. Paul Shavack said the suspected gunman and two women are dead. The city’s mayor said one of the women killed was the shooter’s estranged wife, but Shavack said police had not confirmed that was the case.
Shavack said did not say how the gunman died. He said two police officers suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
He said the shooting was not random, with the motive still to be determined, and he cautioned against information coming from any other source.
Shavak noted that the gunman opened fire before he passed metal detectors in the lobby.
Chick Chinski, 62, of Middletown said he was entering the courthouse to report for jury duty when he heard popping sounds.
“It didn’t sound like gunfire first at all,” said Chinski, adding that he saw the gunman pointing his weapon.
He said it seemed that the shooter deliberately targeted the two women who were shot as they stood in the middle of the lobby.
“Absolutely,” he said. “It’s right what he went after when he come in the door. That’s exactly what he did instantly.”
Chinski said that earlier, he shared an elevator with the gunman and others from the parking garage. The gunman was quiet and did not appear agitated, Chinski said.
In the hours after the shooting, dozens of police cars and emergency vehicles were on the streets surrounding the courthouse. Police searched the courthouse room by room as a precaution.
In the wake of the shooting, Delaware Governor Jack Markell released this message: “Our thoughts and prayers right now are with the victims of this senseless violence and the Capitol Police officers who put their lives on the line to protect the courts and public every day.”
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The Associated Press contributed to this story. Updates will be added.