ATLANTA — A judge and a court reporter were shot to death Friday at the Fulton County Courthouse and at least two others wounded, authorities said. A search for the suspect was under way.
Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor confirmed that Superior Court Judge Rowland Barnes and his court reporter were killed. He gave no other details in announcing the deaths in the state Senate.
The judge was shot on the eighth floor of the courthouse, while one deputy was shot on a street corner just outside the building, said Officer Alan Osborne with the Atlanta Police Department.
Witnesses said the gunman carjacked a car and authorities were searching for several vehicles reported stolen in the area.
Fulton County Sheriff’s Lt. Clarence Huber identified the suspect as 33-year-old Brian Nichols, who was being held on rape charges stemming from an incident in August.
Grady Hospital reported that it was treating two deputies. It was not immediately known the extent of their injuries.
“I saw one person on the street that they were performing CPR on,” said court reporter Amy McKee.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution newsroom staff was told that Don O’Briant, a features reporter for the paper, was beaten by the suspect outside the courthouse. Mike King, an editorial board member for the paper, said O’Briant was taken to Grady.
All the judges in the building were locked in their chambers. The courthouse and other buildings in downtown Atlanta were on lockdown. Traffic in the blocks surrounding the courthouse was backed up as police cruisers flooded the area looking for the suspect.
Among cases handled by Barnes was the fatal 2003 car wreck by hockey star Dany Heatley that killed his 25-year-old teammate Dan Snyder. Heatley pleaded guilty and was sentenced Feb. 4 to three years on probation and ordered to give 150 speeches about the dangers of speeding.