3 people shot, wounded in courthouse attack
GRAND MARAIS, Minn. — A gunman opened fire at small northern Minnesota courthouse on Thursday, shooting and injuring the local prosecutor and two other people, authorities said.
A suspect was quickly taken into custody after the shootings were reported around 4 p.m. at the Cook County Courthouse in Grand Marais, a remote town near the Canadian border, State Public Safety spokesman Doug Neville said. Details about the suspect, and what may have led to the shootings, haven't been released.
Cook County prosecutor Timothy Scannell was undergoing surgery for multiple gunshot wounds Thursday night at Essentia Health-St. Mary's Medical Center in Duluth, spokeswoman Beth Johnson said. She said Scannell was in stable condition but released no other details.
The condition of another victim being treated at the hospital hasn't been released. The third victim was treated at a Grand Marais hospital and released, Neville said.
Scannell was handling the only case on Thursday's court calendar, a jury trial that began Monday for Daniel Sidney Schlienz, who had been charged with criminal sexual conduct and nonconsensual sex contact. His father, Gary Schlienz, told the Duluth News Tribune that he went to the courthouse and was told his son was the shooter. The elder Schlienz said his son had recently threatened suicide.
"He hated the prosecuting attorney that did this," Gary Schlienz told the newspaper. "I don't want to make excuses for him, but they prosecuted him pretty bad. He had no job, no money, nothing."
The elder Schlienz did not immediately respond to a message left at his home by The Associated Press.
Daniel Schlienz was being held Thursday night in the county jail, though jail officials wouldn't release any information. A phone message left at his home wasn't immediately returned.
Online state court records listed several cases involving Schlienz in the past two decades, but most were minor traffic cases. More serious charges included fleeing a peace officer and the criminal sexual conduct case, which was first filed in 2006.
The Duluth News Tribune reported that Schlienz had entered an Alford plea in that case in 2007 on charges that he sexually assaulted two 15-year-old girls and one 17-year-old girl. His father told the newspaper that his son later decided to withdraw the plea and fight the charges.
The county's two-story courthouse, which has just one courtroom, has no metal detectors and visitors aren't searched when they enter the building, Cook County Commissioner Fritz Sobanja said.
"As far as I know, there's no checking for knives or any of that stuff," Sobanja said.
Grand Marais, home to about 1,300 residents, is about 110 miles northeast of Duluth and sits along the shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota's far northeastern tip.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.