CNN is reporting that a man is dead after trying to attack and take over a courthouse in Forsyth County, GA. Just hours ago today the man, identified as Dennis Ronald Marx, 48, of Cumming, GA, drove his SUV straight up to the courthouse steps with intentions of wreaking havoc. Authorities are calling it a “frontal assault”.
Marx screeched to a stop practically on top of the courthouse doors and immediately began throwing out spike strips that appeared to be homemade. Spike strips are used, usually by police, to slow down or stop a criminal by causing his tires to go flat. He also fired through the windshield hitting a deputy in the leg. The deputy, who was manning the door, is being credited with potentially saving many lives by ensuring Marx did not enter the courthouse.
Marx began throwing out both handmade and store-brought grenades. Deputies began streaming out of the courthouse and a gun battle ensued between them and Marx, which ended up with Marx being killed. Inside the SUV, police found water, supplies, more guns and plenty of ammunition.
According to authorities, it had been at least 10 days since Marx lived at home, and for this reason they were doing exhaustive searches for booby-traps that may have been set up to harm any first responders that might enter the home. The courthouse was also evacuated and searched because Marx was scheduled there later today for a hearing on arms and weapons charges.
It is believed that Marx acted alone. The authorities claim he was known to local law enforcement and considered himself a sovereign citizen who was very anti-government. The Atlanta Journal Constitution interviewed eye witness Jason Leonard. Leonard recalled that Marx “actually jumped out of the vehicle with a rifle in his hand, unloaded the rifle, and that’s when the officers unloaded on him.” He estimates that there were approximately 50 shots fired between the deputies and Marx.
Forsyth County Sheriff Duane Piper said that Marx had water, supplies and restraining devices in the SUV. He is almost positive that Marx intended to occupy the courthouse and take hostages. From the amount of supplies found he believes Marx had intended to be there for a good while. Sheriff Piper says there appears to be no further danger to the public at this time.
As in the case a few weeks ago of the mass shooter in California, the killer is dead and the community is left with questions of why and, as in the aforementioned case, were there any red flags that were overlooked.