• WEATHER ALERT Severe Thunderstorm Warning

1 victim identified in Wilmington courthouse shooting (PHOTOS)

39-year-old Christine Belford was shot and killed inside the New Castle Court of Common Pleas in Wilmington Monday morning. Thomas Matusiewicz, the father of Belford's ex-husband David Matusiewicz, is identified by family as the gunman. Belford leaves behind four children.
February 11, 2013 1:22:38 PM PST
Authorities have identified one of the victims killed after gunfire erupted inside a Wilmington courthouse Monday morning.

PHOTOS from Action News: WEBSITE and iPAD | WIRELESS

In all, three people died, including the alleged shooter.

Action News has learned the names of that gunman and his victims, but we are not reporting all of the names until police release official notification to their families.

We can report, however, that one of the victims is 39-year-old Christine Belford of Newark, Delaware. She was apparently involved in a custody dispute with the gunman or a relative.

Police are saying the gunman went to that courthouse with a specific target in mind.

"This was not a random shooting," said Delaware State Police Sgt. Paul Shavack. "There's no nexus to terrorism."

The gunman is identified only as a white male in his 50s or 60s. Police have confirmed that the shooting is related to an ongoing child custody dispute case that has been played out in Delaware courts for years.

That dispute involved a highly publicized kidnapping five years ago in which one of the parties took Christine Belford's three children to Central America.

It was around 8:00 a.m. Monday when the gunman walked into the public lobby of the New Castle County Court of Common Pleas, located at 500 N King Street.

According to Wilmington Police, the gunman opened fire, killing two women and injuring two Capitol police officers. At least one of those women is believed to have been targeted.

"I was walking in, and as soon as I walked in I just heard the shots," explained Jose Beltran, who was inside the courthouse when the shooting happened. "I heard two shots. And I just saw people just ducking down and going on the ground, on the floor. So I just turned around and ran out the building."

The gunman, described as a white male between 50 and 60 years of age, is also dead.

Police say the two injured officers, a 42-year-old 7-year veteran and a 50-year-old 1-year veteran, were shot in an exchange with the gunman. Luckily, the officers were both struck in their bullet proof vests and are in good condition.

Police are still investigating whether the gunman's death was a result of the exchange with officers or whether it was the result of a self inflicted gunshot wound. Police however did say that the gunman never breached the security perimeter beyond the metal detectors inside the courthouse.

Local and federal authorities responded to the scene. The courthouse was evacuated and officers conducted an extensive search of the building.

Two bomb squads were on the scene while authorities investigated the suspect's vehicle.

A spokesperson released the following statement on behalf of Delaware Governor Jack Markell:

"Our thoughts and prayers right now are with the victims of this senseless violence and the Capitol Police officers who put their lives on the line to protect the courts and public every day."

Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) also released a statement in response to the shooting:

"Sadly, no community in our country is immune to violence or senseless tragedy. Today, it struck at home. It's impossible to comprehend acts like the shootings that took place today at the Courthouse in Wilmington, but they serve as somber reminders of the need for our leaders in both Dover and Washington to have a thoughtful but urgent conversation about how to address and reduce gun violence in our state and nation. My heart goes out to the friends and families of those killed and wounded today, and I send my deepest thanks to the brave men and women in law enforcement who were there to protect and serve civilians. In the days and weeks ahead, we need to find out what happened here so we can do all we can to prevent it from happening again. But today we grieve for those lost and hurting."

Load Comments