Mayor: Ex-cop slain after firing at WVa courthouse

WHEELING, W.Va. – A retired police officer armed with what federal marshals described as an assault-type rifle fired up to two dozen rounds at a West Virginia federal courthouse Wednesday until police returned fire and killed him, authorities said.

Mayor Andy McKenzie said two security officers within the Wheeling Federal Building were hurt by flying debris, but there were no other injuries.

State police spokesman Sgt. Michael Baylous confirmed that the man died from police fire but did not have his identity or any details about him.

McKenzie said police who briefed him told him the man was a 20-year-plus veteran of the force who retired 13 years ago. He said the retired officer’s name was not being released immediately.

Investigators were seeking a search warrant for the gunman’s home in hopes of determining a motive and if he acted alone, said Chief Deputy Mike Claxton of the Marshals Service in northern West Virginia.

Asked if the gunman had any beef with the U.S. government, Claxton said, “We’re really digging hard at this point to find out.”

Claxton said the man began firing from a parking lot across from the federal building. “He was observed in the parking lot very quickly after the first shots were fired,” he said.

The building houses a variety of courtrooms and related offices, including judges, prosecutors and law enforcement.