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Gunman kills 1, injures 3 outside Texas courthouse

By the CNN Wire Staff
March 15, 2012 -- Updated 0119 GMT (0919 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Police: A 79-year-old woman is killed in the shooting
  • NEW: Suspected gunman was defendant in a sexual assault trial at courthouse
  • NEW: Two of the wounded were witnesses in the case, police say
  • One of the wounded, the suspect's 20-year-old daughter, is in critical condition

Read more about the shooting from CNN affiliates KBMT, KFDM, KTRK and KPRC. Lea este artículo en español/Read this article in Spanish.

(CNN) -- A gunman killed one person and injured three others when he fired outside a Texas courthouse Wednesday, officials said.

Police said the suspected shooter, 41-year-old Bartholomew Granger, was a defendant in an aggravated sexual assault trial at the courthouse in Beaumont, Texas.

Two of those wounded -- including Granger's 20-year-old daughter -- were witnesses in the trial, which had started Tuesday and was continuing Wednesday, police said.

"It was break time, lunchtime," said Judge Larry Gist, who had left the courthouse for lunch and heard shots from a block away.

Alleged gunman Bartholomew Granger was the defendant in a sexual assault case being heard at the courthouse.
Alleged gunman Bartholomew Granger was the defendant in a sexual assault case being heard at the courthouse.

The gunman grabbed a weapon from his vehicle in a nearby parking lot and opened fire outside the courthouse around 11:20 a.m., Jefferson County Sheriff's Office Deputy Chief Zena Stephens told reporters.

He continued firing as he drove his pickup truck down the street, Stephens said.

Minnie Ray Seabolt, 79, was pronounced dead in front of the courthouse's main entrance, Beaumont Police Officer Carol Riley said in a statement.

Bystanders scrambled for cover while officers aimed at the suspect, Beaumont Police Chief Jim Singletary said.

"This guy was driving crazy, and he was shooting, and we were shooting, and people were ducking under cars," Singletary said.

After Granger wrecked his car, he got out, ran inside a building and took several people hostage, Stephens said.

Hostage negotiators communicating with people inside the building -- which housed the office of a construction company, according to CNN affiliate KBMT -- were advised that the gunman had been shot and was worried about his injuries, Riley said.

Granger, who had been free on bail before the shooting, surrendered to police and was taken into custody at noon, Riley said. He was in the Jefferson County Jail Wednesday night on a murder charge, police said, and his bail on the aggravated sexual assault charge was revoked, Beaumont police said.

Police said his 20-year-old daughter, who also was struck by Granger's vehicle, was in critical condition. The other shooting victims, including the 20-year-old's mother, were treated and released, police said.

Authorities evacuated the courthouse after the shooting. It was scheduled to remain closed Thursday, police said.

CNN's Suzanne Malveaux, Tenisha Bell and Tracy Sabo contributed to this report.

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