Courthouse Shooting Sparks Security Reviews

Courthouse Shooting Sparks Security Reviews

After an ambush shooting outside a courthouse in Steubenville, Ohio, lands a judge in the hospital, neighboring Belmont County is rethinking security standards.

After an ambush shooting outside a courthouse in Steubenville, Ohio, lands a judge in the hospital, neighboring Belmont County is rethinking security standards.

Judge Joseph J. Bruzzese Jr., who sits on the Jefferson County Court of Common Pleas, was shot on Monday when a man ran up to him outside of the courthouse and began shooting. Bruzzese drew a gun and fired at least five rounds at the shooter who authorities identified as Nathaniel Richmond.

Richmond was struck three times and killed when a probation officer as well as the judge fired rounds at him. Jefferson County Sheriff Fred J. Abdalla told reporters it was not clear whether one of Bruzzese’s bullets hit Richmond.

Bruzzese was taken into surgery after the shooting, according to police. He was in stable condition Monday afternoon and is expected to survive.

Authorities still do not know what the motivation was behind the ambush shooting. Richmond is father to one of two teenagers found guilty in Steubenville’s high-profile rape case in 2013, however, Bruzzese had “nothing at all to do with that particular case,” Jane Hanlin, a prosecutor for Jefferson County, said during a briefing.

The question Belmont County leaders are asking now is: where do you draw the line when it comes to safety?

The Ohio Supreme Court issued a ruling on courthouse security years ago, but specifically for the inside of such county facilities.

"Inside, I think we're very safe. I feel very comfortable with the deputies that we have inside and the deputies that come along with court proceedings, the monitors that we have, the cameras throughout the courthouse,” Belmont County Commissioner Mark Thomas said. “This courthouse is very well protected."

But outside security, as demonstrated by Monday’s shooting in Steubenville, is more difficult to control.

"It would really be difficult to take security to the exterior of the building to protect any elected official or even our residents," Thomas said, "because where do you draw the line?"

If you like what you see, get more delivered to your inbox weekly.
Click here to subscribe to our free premium content.

comments powered by Disqus
  • Environmental Protection
  • Occupational Health & Safety
  • Infrastructure Solutions Group
  • School Planning & Managmenet
  • College Planning & Management
  • Campus Security & Life Safety