Fort Worth courthouse shooting in 1992 changed security forever

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by JASON WHITELY

Bio | Email | Follow: @jasonwhitely

WFAA

Posted on February 1, 2013 at 12:10 AM

Updated Friday, Feb 1 at 12:50 AM

Shooting near Kaufman County Courthouse

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FORT WORTH - What George Lott did inside the Tarrant County Courthouse on July 1, 1992, changed courthouse security forever.

"It's a horrible, horrible, horrible thing that I have done today!" Lott told News 8 at the time.

After sitting quietly as a spectator, he rose from his seat, pulled out a Glock pistol and started shooting inside an appeals court during a hearing.

Judge John G. Hill, the presiding judge of the three-judge panel, said he mistook the gunshots for an explosion at first.

"I think I may have stood up and said, 'Was that an explosion?' And then about that time, I started feeling a stinging sensation right up here," Hill said pointing to his right shoulder.

One bullet went through his shoulder. He fell to the floor, did not respond to others, and played dead, fearing the shooter might approach the bench.

Another judge and an attorney were also wounded. But two other lawyers were killed.

Lott slipped out of the courthouse before being caught, and drove to WFAA's studios in Dallas where he surrendered. Lott told News 8 at the time that he was upset over losing custody of his child.

Courthouse shootings are rare, but do happen.

Three years ago in Las Vegas, a 66-year-old man opened fire in the lobby of federal court, killing a security officer and wounding a U.S. Marshal.

In 2005, a man killed his ex-wife and another person outside the courthouse in Tyler, Texas.

In 2003, a Los Angeles man upset over a ruling shot an attorney five times outside the courthouse. That attack was caught in a chilling video.

Former FBI Special Agent In Charge Danny Defenbaugh said threats and intimidation are common in this field.

"I think they're just as common for prosecutors as actually maybe criminal defense attorneys, as well as law enforcement."

What happened Thursday in Kaufman is another tragic reminder.

E-mail jwhitely@wfaa.com

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