A courthouse shooting on Friday could have been a major tragedy, but perhaps miraculously only the alleged gunman ended up dead. Dennis Marx showed up ready to do serious battle and harm, but law enforcement officers were quick to react and put a stop to the plan.
CNN reports that Marx, 48, initiated the courthouse shooting in what ended up being a three-minute battle that left him dead and one deputy injured. Forsyth County Sheriff Duane Piper detailed that the gunman came quite prepared for a massive battle, as he had grenades, ammunition, a gas mask, body armor, and spike strips that he had made himself. Marx then allegedly tried to run over the deputy who confronted him, and the deputy fired on him. The two exchanged gunfire, and then Marx threw out several types of grenades.
As the deputy slowed Marx down, officers rushed in to assist from the jail across the street. Within seconds a SWAT team was on the scene and soon the courthouse shooting was under control. Dennis Marx died after being hit with several gunshots. Reports indicate that eight officers fired during the brief battle. Deputy James Daniel Rush was taken to the hospital after suffering leg fractures that are not life-threatening.
Yahoo! News indicates that Dennis Marx was due in court Friday to plead guilty in a drug case. Though a motive for the courthouse shooting has not been detailed by authorities, the timing of the attack and when Marx was due in court seemingly indicate the two are related. This particular court case goes back to August 2011 when Marx was arrested and faced charges related to weapon possession, selling marijuana, and a number of other felony charges. The suspect filed a federal civil rights complaint in 2013 against the sheriff’s department, so there is a long history of contentious relations between Marx and law enforcement, it would seem.
In addition to the spike strips, gas mask, grenades and body armor, the courthouse shooting suspect also had zip ties, water, and two handguns. Piper indicated that it was clear to them that he “came prepared to stay a while,” and given the restraining devices he had along, “We have to assume that he was there to occupy the courthouse.” Luckily for all in the vicinity at the time, he never made it past his first encounter with the deputy. Had Dennis Marx had his way, it is quite clear that the courthouse shooting would have had a much more tragic outcome than it did on Friday.