Beaumont courthouse shooting witness: It was overkill

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by Courtney Zubowski / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on March 14, 2012 at 10:40 PM

Updated Thursday, Mar 15 at 10:23 AM

HOUSTON -- An eyewitness to the mass shooting outside a courthouse in Beaumont said the shooting victims didn’t stand a chance.

“At one point, I thought it was overkill,” said Beaumont attorney Ted Johns.

Johns was parked in front of the Jefferson County courthouse around 11:15 a.m. Wednesday waiting on his brother, who is also an attorney.

“It became a crime scene very quickly,” said Johns.

Johns watched as police said Bartholomew Granger, 41, shot four people and killed one of them.

His ex-wife and 20-year-old daughter are two of the shooting victims. Police said Granger also ran over his daughter with his pickup truck.

His ex-wife survived. His daughter was in critical condition Thursday.

“At one point he is standing within two feet of her with the rifle pointed at her and I heard rounds go off and she’s down,” said Johns.

Johns said after Granger shot his own daughter, the mass shooting wasn’t over.

“He looked at me directly. I’m in the field of fire and he’s changing clips and I look at him, my window is down, and I mouthed the words, ‘You don’t have to kill me,’” recalled Johns. “I saw the girl go down, I saw her ripped up by the rounds that he fired, I throw the car in reverse and sink down beneath the driver’s door, and was actually praying that he wouldn’t shoot any rounds towards the car because I know those rounds would pierce that automobile.”

Granger didn’t shoot Johns. Instead, Johns said he started randomly shooting toward the courthouse. Police said he shot and killed 79-year-old Minnie Ray Seabolt, then ran into a nearby building and took two hostages. The hostages are now being hailed as heroes.

“They took charge when he was in a vulnerable position, and took the gun away from him, and unlocked the door and let the SWAT Team in,” said Beaumont Police Chief James Ellison.

Police aren’t yet releasing a motive for the shooting, but Granger’s daughter was set to testify against him Wednesday afternoon.

He’s currently on trial for aggravated sexual assault of a child.

“We had picked a jury. We started testimony yesterday and we were going to resume testimony at 1 p.m.,” said Jefferson County State District Judge John Stevens, who was overseeing Granger’s case.

But that never happened, and now Granger is not only charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child, but also murder.

Granger was treated and released from a local Beaumont hospital.

He was being held in the Jefferson County Jail Thursday on $4 million bond.

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