BEAUMONT (AP) — A man at court with family members opened fire outside a Southeast Texas courthouse Wednesday, killing one person and wounding at least three others, police said.
The gunman also was injured in the incident outside the Jefferson County Courthouse in Beaumont, about 80 miles east of Houston, and has been hospitalized, Beaumont Police Officer Doug Kibodeaux said.
Kibodeaux would not say why the suspect came to the courthouse with his family Wednesday morning, but said the man opened fire and shot several rounds in front of the building. Three people were wounded, Kibodeaux said. One of the victims was further injured when the suspect hit her with his truck while trying to escape, he said.
“It was pandemonium,” Judge Larry Gist, whose office is across the street from the main courthouse building, said as he described how law enforcement flooded the scene as soon as the shots rang out.
The suspect drove three to four blocks away before abandoning his truck in the middle of the street, Kibodeaux said.
Ricky Gandy said he went to the window of his office at LJA Engineering, which overlooks the parking lot next to the Beaumont Police department, after hearing a “pop, pop, pop.”
He saw police shooting at a pickup truck as it came out of the parking lot, but the driver “never really got in a hurry.”
“Once it started, it was kind of like the Fourth of July,” Gandy added. “Several shots, I imagine, I’m guessing at least 30 shots all together.”
The suspect was arrested a short time later, but has not been formally charged, Kibodeaux said.
LISTEN: Officer Carol Riley describes the situation
KFDM-TV reports emergency personnel Wednesday afternoon surrounded the downtown courthouse, located near the Port of Beaumont. The courthouse was locked down.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. Associated Press writer Nomaan Merchant in Dallas contributed to this report. All Rights Reserved.)
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