Posted: Saturday, June 7th 2014 at 12:24pm
Police seeking a motive in Cumming courthouse shooting
By The Associated Press
ATLANTA (AP) -- Authorities are seeking to determine why a man carrying an assault rifle, explosives and supplies opened fire outside the Forsyth County courthouse, wounding one deputy before dying in a shootout.
Forsyth County Sheriff's Office Deputy Doug Rainwater said investigators' questions include any motive Dennis Marx, 48, had for the attack that began around 10 a.m. Friday on the courthouse square in Cumming. Marx had been due in court to plead guilty in a drug case earlier Friday.
He arrived at the courthouse wearing body armor in a rented SUV with both homemade and commercially made explosives, two handguns, zip ties, water and other gear, according to authorities. They said he dropped homemade spike strips and used smoke devices in an effort to keep officers from reaching him.
"We're trying to piece everything together," Rainwater told The Associated Press by telephone Saturday. "Him driving to the courthouse and doing what he did at the same time he was supposed to be in court is an indication that's related."
Rainwater says the deputy shot is scheduled for surgery on his injured leg on Saturday but is doing well. He declined to name the deputy, a 25-year veteran of the department.
Rainwater also would not add more to Forsyth County Sheriff Duane Piper's comments Friday that the department had received threats on social media after the attack.
"That's part of the investigation," he said.
Streets near the courthouse were reopened Saturday, but authorities say the building will be closed until damage from Friday's shootout is repaired. Rainwater was not sure whether Marx's home, where authorities have said they found explosives that were not set to detonate, was cleared.
Authorities were familiar with Marx, who had placed obstacles around his home about 40 miles northeast of Atlanta when officers came to arrest him in the past.
Marx has had numerous run-ins with the law, dating to at least 2011. In August of that year, he was arrested on numerous felony charges, including selling marijuana and weapon possession.
That same month, authorities filed papers in an effort to seize weapons and money found after an undercover officer bought drugs from Marx. Court documents show authorities wanted to seize two dozen handguns and rifles, 71 gun magazines and $24,311 in cash.
Marx also had filed a federal civil rights complaint against the sheriff's department in 2013, according to court records.
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