Prosecutor: Wheeling Courthouse Shooter Hated Federal Government

By: The Associated Press Email
By: The Associated Press Email

UPDATE 10/31/13 @ 11:20 a.m.
WHEELING, W.Va. (AP) - A prosecutor says the former police officer who sprayed a courthouse in West Virginia with bullets expressed hatred for the federal government in writings found at his home and on his body.

U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld said Thursday that 55-year-old Thomas J. Piccard expressed his hatred in writings found after the Oct. 9 shooting at the federal courthouse in Wheeling.

Ihlenfeld wouldn't provide further details. But he says Piccard's hatred of the government was one of three factors that contributed to the shooting.

Ihlenfeld says Piccard also had serious medical problems and recently had his heart broken by a woman he cared about.

Law enforcement officers fatally shot Piccard after he fired at the courthouse.

Ihlenfeld says Piccard fired 23 rounds from an assault rifle and three rounds from a handgun.

UPDATE 10/9/13 @ 8:40 p.m.
WHEELING, W.Va. (AP) -- Police say a retired police officer armed with two weapons fired up to two dozen shots at a U.S. courthouse in West Virginia before police returned fire and killed him.

Wheeling Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger identified the gunman in Wednesday afternoon's shooting as 55-year-old Thomas J. Piccard of Bridgeport, Ohio. He is a retired Wheeling police officer.

At a news conference late Wednesday, Schwertfeger said Piccard was armed with an assault weapon and a handgun.

He also said three on-duty security officers were injured by flying debris during the onslaught.

UPDATE 10/9/13 @ 8 p.m.
WHEELING, W.Va. (AP) -- The mayor of a West Virginia city where a man was killed by police after firing multiple rounds at a U.S. courthouse says the gunman was a retired police officer.

Wheeling Mayor Andy McKenzie says police who briefed him after Wednesday's courthouse assault told him the man was a 20-year-plus veteran of the force. He says the man retired 13 years ago.

McKenzie said the retired officer's name was not being released immediately.

U.S. marshals said the man used what they described as an assault-type rifle to fire 15 to 25 shots at the Wheeling Federal Building.

One person was injured inside by flying debris.

UPDATE 10/9/13 @ 7:35 p.m.
WHEELING, W.Va. (AP) -- West Virginia State Police say a man who fired several rounds at the federal courthouse in Wheeling has died after being shot by police.

State police spokesman Sgt. Michael Baylous confirmed that the man died Wednesday. The U.S. Marshals Services says officers fired at the man after he shot up to two dozen rounds at the courthouse.

Marshals Service Chief Deputy Mike Claxton says one person inside the courthouse suffered minor injuries. Baylous did not have the gunman's identity or any information about him.

The U.S. Marshals Service says the man fired between 15 and 25 shots at the court building with what they described as an assault-style rifle.

Police are seeking a motive.

WHEELING, W.Va. (AP) - The U.S. Marshals Service says a man with an assault-type rifle fired 15-20 shots at the federal courthouse in Wheeling on Wednesday afternoon before security officers returned fire, critically injuring the man.

Chief Deputy Mike Claxton of the Marshals Service in northern West Virginia said one officer was injured by shattered glass inside the courthouse but no other injuries were reported during the incident Wednesday afternoon.

Claxton said the gunman was located in a parking lot across from the courthouse in downtown Wheeling. He said officials are attempting to determine a motive.

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