Courthouse Gunman Opened Fire the Moment He Walked In: Cops

Police say the gunman began shooting once he entered the lobby of the building around 8 a.m.

By David Chang
|  Monday, Feb 11, 2013  |  Updated 11:07 PM EDT
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A shooting which killed two women at a courthouse lobby in Wilmington, Del. early Monday morning is the result of a long-standing custody dispute, according to police. The gunman was killed after two officers who were also shot opened fire on him. NBC10's Lu Ann Cahn reports details about the shooter and the victims.

NBC10.com - Lu Ann Cahn

A shooting which killed two women at a courthouse lobby in Wilmington, Del. early Monday morning is the result of a long-standing custody dispute, according to police. The gunman was killed after two officers who were also shot opened fire on him. NBC10's Lu Ann Cahn reports details about the shooter and the victims.

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The man accused of killing two women and injuring two officers at a courthouse in Wilmington, opened fire the moment he walked into the building’s lobby, according to investigators.

Police say the gunman began shooting once he entered the lobby of the building around 8 a.m.

“There’s not much space between the front door and the security area,” said Mellany Armstrong of WDEL Radio. “It’s a small lobby. The shooter would have been in very close range with the people who may have been standing in the lobby.”

Sources tell NBC10 that one of the victims was Christine Belford, 39. Delaware Online identified the shooter as Thomas Matusiewicz, the father of Belford's ex-husband David Matusiewicz.

No official word was given as of Monday night on the names of everyone involved.

A witness told Armstrong several people were lined up in the lobby area when the shooting happened, waiting for the courthouse to open to the general public.

“The man probably walked in with a gun because he hadn’t gotten to security at the metal detector yet,” said Armstrong.

Brian Chapman, a defense attorney who works at the courthouse, says the lobby area is relatively small, maybe 30 by 15 yards in size. And according to Ryan D. Richburg, a criminal researcher, it's a “glass area you can see from the outside.” Inside the lobby area are four metal detector stations for civilians and employees, according to Richburg.

“Each station has X-Ray machines which all bags must pass through,” said Richburg. “Belts are removed and no cell phones are admitted. No electronics, other than laptops, are admitted.”

Chapman says there are also normally around eight to 10 guards in the lobby who run the entire security process. While employees and visitors must go through extensive security checks to get inside the actual courthouse, anyone can walk into the lobby area without having to be checked, according to Chapman.

“It’s a fairly thorough process,” said Chapman. “When I first heard about this my thought was that the only way someone could’ve gotten in there would’ve been if they either avoided the metal detector, which is very hard to do, or that they just went in firing.”

Despite the ability of anyone to get inside the courthouse lobby, Chapman, who has worked there for about a decade, tells NBC10 he’s never witnessed any security issues until today’s incident. 

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