Three people are dead after a shooting at the New Castle County Courthouse in Delaware; police believe it was a targeted killing brought on by a custody dispute between a former couple. Police are still investigating the case and witnesses have described the shooting that cost two women their lives and injured two police officers.
"It's developed out of a long – over the course of many years – custody dispute in the courts of this state," Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden said in a press conference. Biden refused to name the victims and the shooter, citing the ongoing investigation.
According to eyewitnesses, the shooter, a male, entered the courthouse and fired at two women already inside the building. Police on patrol in the building responded and exchanged gunfire with the shooter before he fell to the floor. He was later pronounced dead.
Two police officers were shot during the incident, but they were protected by their bulletproof vests and were treated and released from a local hospital. Unfortunately, the two women did not survive the attack.
"I saw them both go down… It was very disturbing," Bill Heriot told the Associated Press. "I turned her [one of the victims] over and unbuttoned her coat. I saw a single bullet hole in the center of her chest. I held her hand, told her it was going to be all right. Her pupils dilated; she turned pale and passed away."
Gov. Jack Markell was not in the building at the time but was on a mission to India. He told the press he would return early in order to be there for the people of his state.
"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 public 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," Markell added.
The courthouse will be closed Tuesday for repairs and the ongoing investigation.