Judge, officer wounded in Washington state courthouse assault

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 09, 2012 5:13 PM
Judge, officer wounded in Washington state courthouse assault

By Laura Myers

SEATTLE (Reuters) - A judge and a second person were wounded on Friday in an assault at a county courthouse in Washington state, authorities said, prompting a lockdown of schools and government buildings.

Grays Harbor County Superior Court Judge Dave Edwards was listed in satisfactory condition following the attack at the courthouse in Montesano, about 73 miles west of Seattle, Grays Harbor Community Hospital spokesman David Quigg said.

Quigg said Edwards was "conscious and comfortable," but declined to discuss the nature of his injuries. He had no information on the condition of the second wounded person, reported by the Seattle Times newspaper as a sheriff's deputy who was shot in the attack.

The gunman remained at large, a fire department spokeswoman said.

A Grays Harbor County Sheriff's spokesman said that government buildings in Montesano, a community of about 4,000 people, had been placed on lockdown following the incident.

A Montesano School District spokeswoman said schools had also been placed on lockdown.

Josh Bachtell, the owner of Savory Faire bakery in Montesano, said he had locked the doors of his business after the husband of one of his employees said he had seen a gunman running from the courthouse.

"Right after it happened he came in and told us there was an armed gunman on the loose, so we've locked the doors," Bachtell said. "It looks like there's still a lot of police activity out there."

Edwards, a former prosecuting attorney, was appointed to the court in 2007 by Washington Governor Chris Gregoire.

The violence came two days after a gunman fired a flurry of shots into the air and then traded gunfire with police outside a courthouse in Oklahoma on Wednesday, wounding a sheriff's deputy and an innocent bystander, authorities said. Officers had no explanation for why that gunman began shooting skyward in an outdoor Tulsa plaza in the middle of the afternoon, Tulsa Police spokesman Leland Ashley said.

(Additional reporting by Mary Slosson and Dan Whitcomb; Writing by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Cynthia Johnston)