Murder defendant killed in court shooting
MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin (CNN) -- A police officer shot and killed a murder defendant Wednesday in a county courtroom after the man tried to take a gun from a bailiff, the sheriff's department said.
The shooting happened at about 11:35 a.m. (12:35 p.m. ET) on the third floor of the Milwaukee County Safety Building, in the courtroom of Judge Jacqueline Schellinger, as the jury was reading a guilty verdict in the felony murder and armed robbery case, officials said.
The defendant, 20-year-old Loran Anthony Ball, jumped into the jury box and tried to break through a window to escape, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke said.
Ball grabbed a gun from one of the two deputies trying to restrain him and fired it, hitting the 35-year-old veteran in the leg, Clarke said.
The second deputy grabbed the semi-automatic weapon, preventing Ball from firing more shots. Ball bit the second deputy on the arm.
A Milwaukee police detective, who had testified in the case and was in court for the verdict, then fired several shots, killing Ball.
Both deputies were taken to the hospital, where they were treated and released, Clarke said. A defense attorney was hit in the face during the incident and suffered a minor injury.
Clarke said it was unclear from the official court records, whether the jury had announced the verdict before the escape attempt.
Ball had been in jail since February, awaiting trial on charges of felony murder and two counts of armed robbery.
Clarke said Ball was put in a secure part of the jail in August when an anonymous source said he was planning to escape.
The source said Ball planned to try to switch identification wristbands with someone being held on a misdemeanor charge, so he could get out on bail. If that did not work, he planned to attack the deputies when he was in court, Clarke said.
Milwaukee County Judge Carl Ashley -- whose courtroom also is located in the Safety Building, said Wednesday's tragedy was unsettling "but I don't think it deters us from our duties."
"With what most of us have gone through, things have changed," Ashley said. "Our whole awareness has been elevated because of [the September 11 attacks]. The judge said that since the attacks, the courthouse has changed its security format and "people have taken to it."
"I feel -- and my colleagues feel -- very comfortable with our surroundings," Ashley said.
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