A sex offender opened fire in a northern Minnesota courthouse shortly after being convicted Thursday, injuring three people — including the local prosecutor, authorities said.
The suspect, Daniel Schlienz, 42, was taken into custody after the shootings Thursday afternoon at the Cook County Courthouse in Grand Marais, a remote town near the Canadian border, State Public Safety spokesman Doug Neville said.
Schlienz, who had been on trial earlier Thursday on sexual misconduct charges. His father told the Duluth News Tribune that he went to the courthouse and was told that his son was the shooter. He 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.”
Cook County prosecutor Timothy Scannell was undergoing surgery Thursday night at Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth, spokeswoman Beth Johnson said. Scannell and another hospitalized victim were conscious and talking before being taken to the hospital, while the third victim was treated and released, Neville said. Scannell suffered multiple gunshot wounds.
Schlienz was found guilty Thursday of a sex crime in a jury trial presided over by Judge Mark Munger, according to John Kostouros, spokesman for the Minnesota judicial branch.
“The judge and the jury were still talking in the courtroom afterward … when they heard shots in another part of the courthouse,” Kostouros told Reuters.
Online state court records listed several cases involving Daniel 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 newspaper 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.
A county official said the courthouse doesn’t have metal detectors and visitors aren’t usually searched.
They’re playing with people’s lives…