Police: Accused rapist from Houston opens fire outside Beaumont courthouse; 1 dead

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by Tiffany Craig / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on March 14, 2012 at 12:50 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 14 at 6:40 PM

BEAUMONT, Texas – A Houston man was behind bars in Beaumont Wednesday evening, accused in a deadly shooting rampage at the Jefferson County Courthouse.

Bartholomew Granger, 41, was on trial for aggravated sexual assault of a child. The victim was a family member.

The trial began on Monday, and the victim had taken the stand on Tuesday. Testimony was set to resume Wednesday afternoon.

But around 11:21 a.m., police said Granger pulled up to the courthouse and started shooting.

The first victim was his 20-year-old daughter, who was a witness in the trial. Police said Granger shot her, then ran her over with his pickup truck.

Next, investigators said Granger turned the gun on 79-year-old Minnie Ray Seabolt, of Deweyville, Texas.

She was shot near the courthouse steps and died at the scene.

At some point, the shooting became random, and two other victims were shot.

Police said the chaotic scene, which spanned three city blocks, could only be described as a classic shootout.

"It was a fluid scene, and this guy was driving crazy, and he was shooting and we were shooting – people were ducking under cars. This was a classic shootout that our guys handled very well. It was a horrible, active-shooter situation," Beaumont Police Chief James Singletary said. "He had basically taken the stance that this was the day that he was going to do some damage, and he did."

In a bid to escape, police said Granger ran into the Richard Construction, Inc. building, which is about two blocks away from the courthouse.

Once inside, investigators said he took several hostages. But officers were able to contact Granger on the phone and negotiate his surrender.

Police said he agreed to let the hostages go and give up, if he could get some medical care.

He was taken to the hospital for treatment of an undisclosed injury.

Police said the two unidentified shooting victims were also treated and released from the hospital.

The daughter was in critical condition Wednesday evening.

Investigators said seven Beaumont police officers and two Jefferson County deputies exchanged fire with Granger, but none of them was hurt. They were all placed on administrative leave.

After the shootings, the courthouse was evacuated and the nearby streets were locked down so investigators could collect evidence.

Granger was being held in the Jefferson County Jail without bond.

 

 

 

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