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Tuesday, June 11, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Three Dead in Delaware Courthouse Shooting

WILMINGTON, Del. (CN) - Three people were killed this morning, including the shooter, at the New Castle County Courthouse in Delaware. Two police officers were wounded.

Law enforcement and legal sources have identified the shooter as Thomas Matusiewicz, the former father-in-law of one of the victims, the News Journal reported.

Earlier, citing the same sources, the News Journal identified the shooter as that man's son, David Matusiewicz, a former optometrist who was convicted of kidnapping his three daughters and bank fraud in 2007.

Christine Belford, the ex-wife of David Matusiewicz, was one of two people gunned down at the courthouse. The identity of the second victim is not yet known. It was unclear if police killed the shooter or if he killed himself.

The News Journal reported that David Matusiewicz kidnapped his three young daughters in August 2007 while fighting Belford for custody.

"He took the girls on an 18-month odyssey to Panama, Costa Rica, Mexico and Nicaragua, where in March 2009 authorities discovered him, his mother Lenore and the girls - then ages ages, 4, 6, and 7, one of whom is autistic - living in a dirty and cramped trailer," according to a version of the News Journal article that has since been edited.

The former optometrist had also reportedly forged Belford's name to get a $249,000 mortgage on their Middletown-area home.

A federal judge reportedly sentenced Matusiewicz to four years in prison for kidnapping and bank fraud. His parental rights were terminated in prison, the News Journal said.

Upon his April 2012 release from prison, Matusiewicz had been living in a halfway house and then home confinement until Sept. 5, the News Journal reported. His location today is reportedly unknown.

The shooting began around 8 a.m. when Capitol Police stopped the man at a security checkpoint inside the courthouse, according to the News Journal.

Police swarmed the area and closed of approaches to the building.

State police were going through the courthouse room by room after 11 a.m., a police sergeant told the News Journal.

The Wilmington police chief was attending a meeting on gun violence this morning in nearby Philadelphia with Vice President Joe Biden. She declined to comment to the News Journal.

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