Sussex courthouse carries on despite New Castle shooting

Despite the shooting at its counterpart in New Castle County, business went on at Sussex County courthouse in Georgetown. Officials said they were aware of the events in Wilmington, where a gunman killed two women and wounded two Capitol Police officers. BY FILE
February 12, 2013

The New Castle County courthouse went on lockdown Feb. 11 after a gunman entered the lobby and killed two women and wounded two others.

Meanwhile, business at the Sussex County courthouse went on.

Representatives from the Chief Bailiff’s Office said they were well aware of the events in Wilmington and that security is up to date with no special measures being taken.

The smaller courthouse in Georgetown differs from its counterpart in New Castle County in that there is no lobby before visitors reach the metal detectors. The Superior Court building in Georgetown has metal detectors right at the entrance of the building off Bedford Street. It is not uncommon to see a line of three or four people out the door waiting to pass through the detectors as they enter the courthouse. Jurors typically use the rear entrance to the building, which also has a metal detector at the door.

Delaware State Police Cpl. John Day said the department has not yet released the identity of the shooter, who died at the scene. Police said they have not yet determined if he took his own life or was shot by Capitol Police, the state division responsible for security at the state’s courthouses, legislative hall and the governor’s mansion. The two men wounded were both Capitol Police officers.

The New Castle County courthouse will be closed Tuesday, Feb. 12. In a statement, Chief Justice Myron Steele said, "The violence today has saddened and horrified all of us.   I know I can speak for our entire judiciary in thanking the Capitol Police for risking their lives to protect as many of our citizens and employees as they could.   Right now, the interests of justice require that we allow law enforcement and the Department of Justice to do their jobs and to have complete control and access to the courthouse tomorrow.    We also want to make sure that the needs of our employees, jurors and witnesses who were present in the Courthouse are met,"

Congressman John Carney said in a statement, "I am devastated that this type of attack has now struck the city I call home. As the people of Wilmington cope with the grief of this terrible event, we are given yet another clear and heartbreaking reminder of the need to take necessary steps to prevent gun violence in our state and around the country."