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Gunman, two others dead in Delaware courthouse shooting

  • Heavily armed police enter the   New Castle County Courthouse, Monday morning, Feb. 11, 2013 in Wilmington, Del.  The mayor of Wilmington, Del., says a man suspected of killing his wife and wounding two others at the New Castle County Courthouse has been killed by police.  (AP Photo/The News Journal/William Bretzger)  PHILADELPHIA TV OUT AND PHILADELPHIA ONLINE SITES OUT

    Heavily armed police enter the New Castle County Courthouse, Monday morning, Feb. 11, 2013 in Wilmington, Del. The mayor of Wilmington, Del., says a man suspected of killing his wife and wounding two others at the New Castle County Courthouse has been killed by police. (AP Photo/The News Journal/William Bretzger) PHILADELPHIA TV OUT AND PHILADELPHIA ONLINE SITES OUT

  • Heavily armed police enter the   New Castle County Courthouse, Monday morning, Feb. 11, 2013 in Wilmington, Del.  The mayor of Wilmington, Del., says a man suspected of killing his wife and wounding two others at the New Castle County Courthouse has been killed by police.  (AP Photo/The News Journal/William Bretzger)  PHILADELPHIA TV OUT AND PHILADELPHIA ONLINE SITES OUT

    Heavily armed police enter the New Castle County Courthouse, Monday morning, Feb. 11, 2013 in Wilmington, Del. The mayor of Wilmington, Del., says a man suspected of killing his wife and wounding two others at the New Castle County Courthouse has been killed by police. (AP Photo/The News Journal/William Bretzger) PHILADELPHIA TV OUT AND PHILADELPHIA ONLINE SITES OUT

  • Law enforcement officials and investigators gather outside the New Castle County Courthouse in Wilmington, Del. on Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, after three people died Monday morning in a shooting at a courthouse, including the shooter, authorities said.  (AP Photo/ Joseph Kaczmarek)

    Law enforcement officials and investigators gather outside the New Castle County Courthouse in Wilmington, Del. on Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, after three people died Monday morning in a shooting at a courthouse, including the shooter, authorities said. (AP Photo/ Joseph Kaczmarek)

  • Law enforcement officials and investigators gather outside the New Castle County Courthouse in Wilmington, Del. on Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, after three people died Monday morning in a shooting at a courthouse, including the shooter, authorities said. (AP Photo/ Joseph Kaczmarek)

    Law enforcement officials and investigators gather outside the New Castle County Courthouse in Wilmington, Del. on Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, after three people died Monday morning in a shooting at a courthouse, including the shooter, authorities said. (AP Photo/ Joseph Kaczmarek)

  • Law enforcement officials and investigators gather outside the New Castle County Courthouse in Wilmington, Del. on Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, after three people died Monday morning in a shooting at a courthouse, including the shooter, authorities said. (AP Photo/ Joseph Kaczmarek)

    Law enforcement officials and investigators gather outside the New Castle County Courthouse in Wilmington, Del. on Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, after three people died Monday morning in a shooting at a courthouse, including the shooter, authorities said. (AP Photo/ Joseph Kaczmarek)

  • Police cars fill the street outside the New Castle County Courthouse, Monday morning, Feb. 11, 2013 in WiIlmington, Del. , after a man killed his estranged wife and two others at the courthouse.  The mayor of Wilmington says police have killed the gunman.  (AP Photo/The News Journal/William Bretzger)  PHILADELPHIA TV OUT AND PHILADELPHIA ONLINE SITES OUT

    Police cars fill the street outside the New Castle County Courthouse, Monday morning, Feb. 11, 2013 in WiIlmington, Del. , after a man killed his estranged wife and two others at the courthouse. The mayor of Wilmington says police have killed the gunman. (AP Photo/The News Journal/William Bretzger) PHILADELPHIA TV OUT AND PHILADELPHIA ONLINE SITES OUT

  • Police confer outside the New Castle County Courthouse,  Monday morning, Feb. 11, 2013, in Wilmington, Del. , after a man killed his estranged wife and two others at the courthouse.  The mayor of Wilmington says police have killed the gunman.  (AP Photo/The News Journal/William Bretzger)  PHILADELPHIA TV OUT AND PHILADELPHIA ONLINE SITES OUT

    Police confer outside the New Castle County Courthouse, Monday morning, Feb. 11, 2013, in Wilmington, Del. , after a man killed his estranged wife and two others at the courthouse. The mayor of Wilmington says police have killed the gunman. (AP Photo/The News Journal/William Bretzger) PHILADELPHIA TV OUT AND PHILADELPHIA ONLINE SITES OUT

  • Police confer outside the New Castle County Courthouse,  Monday morning, Feb. 11, 2013, in Wilmington, Del. , after a man killed his estranged wife and two others at the courthouse.  The mayor of Wilmington says police have killed the gunman.  (AP Photo/The News Journal/William Bretzger)  PHILADELPHIA TV OUT AND PHILADELPHIA ONLINE SITES OUT

    Police confer outside the New Castle County Courthouse, Monday morning, Feb. 11, 2013, in Wilmington, Del. , after a man killed his estranged wife and two others at the courthouse. The mayor of Wilmington says police have killed the gunman. (AP Photo/The News Journal/William Bretzger) PHILADELPHIA TV OUT AND PHILADELPHIA ONLINE SITES OUT

  • Police stand outside the New Castle County Courthouse, Monday morning, Feb. 11, 2013 in WIlmington, Del. , after a man killed his estranged wife and two others at teh courthouse.  The mayofro f Wilmington says police have killed the gunman.  (AP Photo/The News Journal/William Bretzger)  PHILADELPHIA TV OUT AND PHILADELPHIA ONLINE SITES OUT

    Police stand outside the New Castle County Courthouse, Monday morning, Feb. 11, 2013 in WIlmington, Del. , after a man killed his estranged wife and two others at teh courthouse. The mayofro f Wilmington says police have killed the gunman. (AP Photo/The News Journal/William Bretzger) PHILADELPHIA TV OUT AND PHILADELPHIA ONLINE SITES OUT

  • Police stand outside the New Castle County Courthouse, Monday morning, Feb. 11, 2013 in WIlmington, Del. , after a man killed his estranged wife and two others at teh courthouse.  The mayofro f Wilmington says police have killed the gunman.  (AP Photo/The News Journal/William Bretzger)  PHILADELPHIA TV OUT AND PHILADELPHIA ONLINE SITES OUT

    Police stand outside the New Castle County Courthouse, Monday morning, Feb. 11, 2013 in WIlmington, Del. , after a man killed his estranged wife and two others at teh courthouse. The mayofro f Wilmington says police have killed the gunman. (AP Photo/The News Journal/William Bretzger) PHILADELPHIA TV OUT AND PHILADELPHIA ONLINE SITES OUT

  • Law enforcement officials and investigators gather outside the New Castle County Courthouse in Wilmington, Del. on Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, after three people died Monday morning in a shooting at a courthouse, including the shooter, authorities said.  (AP Photo/ Joseph Kaczmarek)

    Law enforcement officials and investigators gather outside the New Castle County Courthouse in Wilmington, Del. on Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, after three people died Monday morning in a shooting at a courthouse, including the shooter, authorities said. (AP Photo/ Joseph Kaczmarek)

  • Law enforcement officials and investigators gather outside the New Castle County Courthouse in Wilmington, Del. on Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, after three people died Monday morning in a shooting at a courthouse, including the shooter, authorities said.  (AP Photo/ Joseph Kaczmarek)

    Law enforcement officials and investigators gather outside the New Castle County Courthouse in Wilmington, Del. on Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, after three people died Monday morning in a shooting at a courthouse, including the shooter, authorities said. (AP Photo/ Joseph Kaczmarek)

  • Heavily armed police enter the   New Castle County Courthouse, Monday morning, Feb. 11, 2013 in Wilmington, Del.  The mayor of Wilmington, Del., says a man suspected of killing his wife and wounding two others at the New Castle County Courthouse has been killed by police.  (AP Photo/The News Journal/William Bretzger)  PHILADELPHIA TV OUT AND PHILADELPHIA ONLINE SITES OUT
  • Heavily armed police enter the   New Castle County Courthouse, Monday morning, Feb. 11, 2013 in Wilmington, Del.  The mayor of Wilmington, Del., says a man suspected of killing his wife and wounding two others at the New Castle County Courthouse has been killed by police.  (AP Photo/The News Journal/William Bretzger)  PHILADELPHIA TV OUT AND PHILADELPHIA ONLINE SITES OUT
  • Law enforcement officials and investigators gather outside the New Castle County Courthouse in Wilmington, Del. on Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, after three people died Monday morning in a shooting at a courthouse, including the shooter, authorities said.  (AP Photo/ Joseph Kaczmarek)
  • Law enforcement officials and investigators gather outside the New Castle County Courthouse in Wilmington, Del. on Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, after three people died Monday morning in a shooting at a courthouse, including the shooter, authorities said. (AP Photo/ Joseph Kaczmarek)
  • Law enforcement officials and investigators gather outside the New Castle County Courthouse in Wilmington, Del. on Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, after three people died Monday morning in a shooting at a courthouse, including the shooter, authorities said. (AP Photo/ Joseph Kaczmarek)
  • Police cars fill the street outside the New Castle County Courthouse, Monday morning, Feb. 11, 2013 in WiIlmington, Del. , after a man killed his estranged wife and two others at the courthouse.  The mayor of Wilmington says police have killed the gunman.  (AP Photo/The News Journal/William Bretzger)  PHILADELPHIA TV OUT AND PHILADELPHIA ONLINE SITES OUT
  • Police confer outside the New Castle County Courthouse,  Monday morning, Feb. 11, 2013, in Wilmington, Del. , after a man killed his estranged wife and two others at the courthouse.  The mayor of Wilmington says police have killed the gunman.  (AP Photo/The News Journal/William Bretzger)  PHILADELPHIA TV OUT AND PHILADELPHIA ONLINE SITES OUT
  • Police confer outside the New Castle County Courthouse,  Monday morning, Feb. 11, 2013, in Wilmington, Del. , after a man killed his estranged wife and two others at the courthouse.  The mayor of Wilmington says police have killed the gunman.  (AP Photo/The News Journal/William Bretzger)  PHILADELPHIA TV OUT AND PHILADELPHIA ONLINE SITES OUT
  • Police stand outside the New Castle County Courthouse, Monday morning, Feb. 11, 2013 in WIlmington, Del. , after a man killed his estranged wife and two others at teh courthouse.  The mayofro f Wilmington says police have killed the gunman.  (AP Photo/The News Journal/William Bretzger)  PHILADELPHIA TV OUT AND PHILADELPHIA ONLINE SITES OUT
  • Police stand outside the New Castle County Courthouse, Monday morning, Feb. 11, 2013 in WIlmington, Del. , after a man killed his estranged wife and two others at teh courthouse.  The mayofro f Wilmington says police have killed the gunman.  (AP Photo/The News Journal/William Bretzger)  PHILADELPHIA TV OUT AND PHILADELPHIA ONLINE SITES OUT
  • Law enforcement officials and investigators gather outside the New Castle County Courthouse in Wilmington, Del. on Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, after three people died Monday morning in a shooting at a courthouse, including the shooter, authorities said.  (AP Photo/ Joseph Kaczmarek)
  • Law enforcement officials and investigators gather outside the New Castle County Courthouse in Wilmington, Del. on Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, after three people died Monday morning in a shooting at a courthouse, including the shooter, authorities said.  (AP Photo/ Joseph Kaczmarek)

“He walked right up the first victim and shot her point-blank right in the chest. He then turned around and shot a second woman who was approximately 10 feet away,” said Bill Heriot, who says he was waiting to enter the New Castle County Courthouse on Monday morning. He said the heavy-set man, who appeared to be in his 50s, pulled out a semiautomatic pistol and fired a single shot at each victim.

Heriot said the shooter then exchanged gunfire with police before falling to the floor.

Delaware State Police Sgt. Paul Shavack said the suspect and the women are dead. Mayor Dennis Williams said in a phone interview that one of the women killed was the shooter’s estranged wife, but Shavack said police had not confirmed that.

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.

Chick Chinski, 62, of Middletown 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 the shooter seemed to deliberately target the two women who were killed.

“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 before the shooting, he shared an elevator with the gunman and others from the parking garage. The gunman was quiet and did not appear agitated, he said.

Heriot, a plaintiff in a court case that was to be heard this week, said after the two women were shot, there was an exchange of gunfire, then a lull, during which time he believes the shooter may have been putting a new clip in his gun.

“I could smell the gunpowder in the air,” Heriot said. After the shooting stopped, 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,” he said. “I held her hand, told her it was going to be all right. Her pupils dilated. She turned pale and passed away.”

Authorities said Monday evening that autopsies had been completed on the two female victims, but they were withholding their names while family members were notified.

After the shooting, police searched the courthouse room by room as a precaution. Streets around the courthouse remained cordoned off Monday night. Officials said the courthouse would remain closed Tuesday while repairs were made and authorities continued their investigation.

Diana Dorn, who lives right behind the courthouse, said she heard the shooting from her bedroom window.

“You could hear it really clear. It was like pow, pow, pow, pow,” she said. “That’s normal in my neighborhood with the drug dealers and everything.”

In response to the shooting, Democratic 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.”

———

Associated Press writers Maryclaire Dale and Brett Zongker in Wilmington and Jessica Gresko in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.

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