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Updates On The Jefferson County Courthouse Shooting; One Dead

Posted in Related Deaths
3-14-2012 Texas:

At least one person is dead and several people injured in a shooting outside a courthouse in Beaumont. Latest update 2:23 p.m.

Authorities say a man involved in a court case opened fire outside the courthouse during a break in the case, killing a female relative and injuring at least two others.

The suspect then drove away and was arrested nearby.

One of the victims was shot and run over by the suspect as he fled the scene.

The suspect is being treated at a Beaumont hospital and may have been shot during his capture. The shootings took place outside the Jefferson County Courthouse in downtown Beaumont. Beaumont is about 90 miles east of Houston.

Judge John Stevens told KFDM News the suspect, Bartholomew Granger, 41, was on trial in his court on charges of Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child. Stevens told KFDM News a jury was picked Monday, testimony began Tuesday, and the child was scheduled to resume testimony Wednesday at 1. ..Source.. by KUHF FM


Man shoots several people, one fatally, outside Jefferson County Courthouse

BEAUMONT - A man is in custody after Beaumont police say he shot several people outside the Jefferson County Courthouse, including one elderly woman who died at the scene outside the courthouse, and at least three other people who were shot, before he was wounded in an exchange of gunfire with police and eventually gave up after taking hostages at a business near the courthouse, according to Beaumont Police and the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office.

The suspect was shot and wounded in an exchange of gunfire with police. He's in stable condition at Christus Hospital St. Elizabeth. Police are preparing to transfer him to jail.

Investigators emphasize no shots were fired inside the courthouse.

Police responded to the call of shots fired outside the courthouse at about 11 a.m.

Judge John Stevens told KFDM News the suspect, Bartholomew Granger, 41, was on trial in his court on charges of Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child. Stevens told KFDM News a jury was picked Monday, testimony began Tuesday, and the child was scheduled to resume testimony Wednesday at 1.

According to Stevens, there was a docket call at about 11 a.m., and that's when they heard shots fired outside the courthouse.

Beaumont Police tell KFDM News one person was shot outside the courthouse in the parking lot. Another person, an elderly woman, was shot and killed outside the courthouse near the door. A third person was shot and ran inside the courthouse to flee to safety. A fourth person was also shot outside the courthouse. Police say two of the victims are related to the suspect. Police say the suspect fired the shots from his vehicle as he was driving away. Police exchanged gunfire with the suspect and he was wounded.

He fled inside the Richard Construction, Inc. building about two blocks away from the courthouse and took several hostages, according to Chief Deputy Zena Stevens of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office. Employees managed to take away his weapon and police took the man into custody. He'd released several hostages but still had four when he was taken into custody. He finally gave up and was taken by ambulance to Christus Hospital St. Elizabeth.

Police Chief Jimmy Singletary told KFDM News the man talked with them and said he'd give up. Singletary said the man appeared more concerned with getting medical help for himself than with what had happened or the victims.

The Sheriff's Office is leading the investigation. Beaumont Police, The Texas Rangers, the F.B.I. and A.T.F. are also working the case.

Courthouse employees were evacuated and allowed to go home for the day.

The crime scene stretches several blocks. ..Source.. by


Judge sets $4 million in bonds for courthouse shooting suspect

BEAUMONT - by Lindsey Kovacevich - A judge has set bonds totalling $4 million for a man accused of using a semi-automatic rifle to shoot and kill a woman and injure three other people, including his daughter and ex-wife, outside the Jefferson County Courthouse.

The courthouse will reopen to the public at 9 a.m. Friday after reopening to employees Thursday morning.

BEAUMONT - Crime scene blocked the entrance to the Jefferson County Courthouse earlier Thursday while bailiffs stood guard. They turned away people who have come to settle and resolve issues, that on any other day, would be handled here.

"Most offices that you would normally see the doors open and be able to look in and see employees, those doors are shut," says Greg Fountain, the Jefferson County Emergency Management Coordinator.

Shut down so officers can finish their investigation. State troopers re-trace every step of the crime scene before, during and after the shooting.

"Some glass and bullets did enter the courthouse but the shooter never entered the courthouse as the shooter," adds Fountain.

He believes the courthouse security kept the shooting outside.

"Without security, without metal detectors, the same suspect could have brought a weapon into the courtroom and endangered many more people."

Jefferson County Sheriff Mitch Woods says Bartholomew Granger used a 40 caliber semi automatic rifle called a Berretta CX-4 Storm, Smith and Wesson Carbine.

"Worked well into the early morning hours processing the crime scene," says Sheriff Woods.

"You can't look into someone's heart and know what's in their mind. Know what evil a man will do," adds Fountain.

Counseling is available to courthouse employees. Fountain hopes this serves as a reminder that what happened at the courthouse can happen anywhere.

The daughter of Bartholomew Granger, 41, is in critical condition. Investigators say he shot her and then ran over her with a pickup truck. His ex-wife and a woman shot in the hand were both treated and released from a hospital Wednesday.

Granger is charged with one count of murder. Investigators believe the shootings stem from a trial in which Granger was facing charges of Aggravated Sexual Assault of a child.

Judge Ron Walker arraigned Granger Thursday morning in the Jefferson County Jail and set bond at $3 million for murder and $1 million for Aggravated Sexual Assault.

Testimony began Tuesday and was scheduled to resume Wednesday at 1 p.m. in Judge John Stevens' court. Stevens says Granger's daughter and ex-wife were witnesses in the trial.

Investigators say Granger was waiting outside of the courthouse and opened fire shortly after 11 a.m. Wednesday. They say he shot his 20-year-old daughter and ran over her. She's in critical condition. Investigators say Granger shot and killed an innocent bystander, 79-year-old Minnie Sebolt of Deweyville, just outside the door to the courthouse. He's also accused of shooting the mother of his 20-year-old daughter. She ran inside the courthouse to safety. Another woman was shot in the hand. Both have been treated and released.

He drove away and was wounded in an exchange of gunfire with police. His pickup truck was riddled with bullets. Investigators say Granger ran inside a business a few blocks away from the courthouse where he took several hostages.

Employees at the business took away his gun. Police recovered a Smith and Wesson Carbine and a Berretta CX-4 Storm from the hostages.

Granger was taken to Christus Hospital Saint Elizabeth before he was transported late Wednesday afternoon to the Jefferson County Jail.

Seven Beaumont Police officers and two Jefferson County deputies, all of whom fired shots at Granger, are on administrative leave with pay. That's standard procedure in such a case.

Jefferson County detectives are taking witness statements and investigating with assistance from Beaumont Police, the DPS and Texas Rangers.

Sheriff Mitch Woods says courthouse security wasn't breacahed and he's confident the security measures in place were effective.

The courthouse is closed to the public Thursday. A decision will be made Thursday afternoon about when it'll reopen to the public. Some courthouse employees have returned. Elected officials over each department have the authority to determine work schedules.

Family and friends of Minnie Sebolt of Deweyville told KFDM News she was an extraordinary woman. They say she was taking a friend to the courthouse where the friend was trying to get help with VA benefits.

Relatives say she had amazing energy for a 79-year-old woman. They tell us that even after her husband's death last year, she remained busy and always had time to help family and friends.

"She was a pillar of the community," one friend told us. "She was always first in line to help someone in need."

They want everyone to keep the family in their prayers. ..Source..


Beaumont shooting suspect's brother arrested in front of cameras

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- We are hearing from the family of the Houston man investigators say opened fire at a Beaumont courthouse, killing one woman and injuring two other women and a man.

Bartholomew Granger, the accused shooter, actually lives in northeast Houston. We learned his sexual assault trial in Jefferson County also involved his brother, who was arrested Wednesday night as our cameras were rolling.

"The father was upset and angry because he felt that there was no justice in this case," Quanell X said at the press conference Wednesday night.

But in the middle of that Quanell X news conference where he talked about Granger's frustrations, news broke right before our eyes.

"I didn't do anything," said Lyndon Granger, the accused shooter's brother.

Lyndon Granger was handcuffed, arrested and taken to jail. Jefferson County sheriff's deputies made sure to do it themselves.

"He has a felony warrant on him so we had to execute that warrant," Jefferson County Sheriff's Office Major Bradford Lowe said.

"Does it have anything to do with the shooting today?" we asked.

"I don't know. I don't know that," he replied.

Lyndon Granger, who along with the accused shooter's son, stood next to Quanell X just moments earlier. He's charged with sexually assaulting the same girl for which his brother was on trial. Lyndon's been out on bond. Sources tell Eyewitness News the judge in the case issued a warrant Wednesday, in part, to protect the public going forward.

"If this is truly done for public safety, I can understand but this seems very suspicious to me," Quanell X said.

Both Lyndon and Bartholomew are charged in Jefferson County, but they are no strangers to law enforcement in Harris County.

We found in 2010 they sued the Houston Police Department in federal court claiming a long list of grievances including corruption discrimination, slander, as well as civil and constitutional violations.

The lawsuit was in response to the criminal investigations which they called an "unlawful witch hunt."

In fact, recently Bartholomew Granger was in the city's legal department, according to the mayor's office, giving a deposition related to the lawsuit.

It has since been dismissed. But the legal troubles for both brothers seem to be getting worse.

Lyndon Granger was taken downtown to stand before a magistrate on Wednesday night. He then was expected to go to Jefferson County Jail.

Neither he nor the accused shooter's 19-year-old son would answer any questions. Other family members with whom we spoke on Wednesday in Port Arthur wouldn't answer questions either. ..Source.. by Jessica Willey


Sex abuse claims led to Texas shooting

3-17-2012 Texas:

DALLAS -- The gunman police say went on a shooting spree outside a Texas courthouse this week had become increasingly frustrated by sexual misconduct charges his daughter lodged against him and two of his brothers, and he was so convinced of his innocence he rejected a plea deal that would have kept him out of prison, records and interviews revealed.

Police say Bartholomew Granger opened fire Wednesday outside the Jefferson County courthouse in Beaumont, killing an elderly woman and wounding three others, including his daughter and her mother, in what's now coming into focus as a final, desperate act of a man who believed he and his brothers had been wrongfully accused.

"This has been going on for a long time, and I guess he finally snapped," said one of the brothers, Ulysses Granger. "He couldn't take it anymore."

Bartholomew Granger, 41, was in custody Friday on $4 million bond after being charged with the murder of a bystander, Minnie Ray Sebolt, 79, of Deweyville.

Meanwhile, his daughter remained hospitalized in critical but stable condition, a police spokeswoman said. Authorities say Granger shot the 20-year-old woman and ran over her with his pickup truck as he tried to leave the scene.

The rampage occurred just hours before Granger's daughter was to resume testimony in a trial in which she accused her father of sexually assaulting her nine years ago. It was the latest episode in a saga that has led to two other criminal cases, a series of lawsuits and a sharply-divided family.

Granger's daughter made the allegations against her father and uncles in 2009, shortly after she moved out of her father's Houston home and went to live with her mother in Lake Charles, La., court records show.

One of Granger's brothers, Lyndon, was scheduled to stand trial in the same Beaumont courtroom on a charge of indecency with a child once Granger's trial was finished, although officials say both cases are now on hold because of the shooting investigation.

Lyndon Granger, 43, was out on bond at the time of the shooting. He has since been arrested and held on $500,000 bond at the direction of the trial judge, John Stevens.

Ulysses Granger, 44, was charged with sexual assault and prohibited sexual contact in Houston, but those changes have been dismissed, according to court records.

During trial testimony Tuesday, Granger's daughter recounted details of the alleged rape. She also testified that she first spoke of abuse during a conversation in which she and her mother were discussing whether to obtain a protective order against Granger.

Ulysses Granger said in an interview that he and his brothers believe his niece was prompted to make false statements by her mother because of lingering bitterness over a custody battle, but authorities have refused to take them seriously. Granger and his daughter's mother had two children together but were never married.

"In every corner, no matter what we tried to do, it was like nobody wanted to hear our side," Ulysses Granger said. "It's like, 'You're going to jail no matter what you do, what evidence you have.' It's been like that the whole way through."

Court records show the case against Ulysses Granger was closed by Houston police due to lack of information.

Jefferson County District Attorney Tom Maness declined to comment on the cases in his jurisdiction because both are still pending.

The mother did not respond to messages at phone numbers listed for her. ..Source.. by DANNY ROBBINS


Daughter testified she was scared of shooting supsect

3-19-2012 Texas:

The man accused in Wednesday's deadly courthouse shooting tried to get inside the courthouse - possibly into a courtroom - on at least two occasions prior to the shooting, Jefferson County District Attorney Tom Maness said Friday.

Maness said security cameras show accused gunman Bartholomew Granger arriving at the courthouse before the doors opened, about four or five hours before the shootings which killed one person and injured three others. Cameras also show Granger entering the courthouse and going through a security line.

"If we didn't have any security, he could have brought in a whole arsenal of weapons," Maness said. "That makes it 10 times worse if we didn't have courthouse security ... It serves its purpose."

Police have said Granger, 41, opened fire in the courthouse parking lot at 11:21 a.m. Wednesday.

Maness said the investigation into the incident is ongoing, but that evidence so far indicates some of Granger's targets were his family members.

His daughter, Samantha Jackson, 20, remains in critical condition in a Beaumont hospital, but police said Friday her vital signs are good. Police on Wednesday said that Granger shot Jackson multiple times with a .40-caliber Beretta CX-4 Storm and ran over her with his truck in the courthouse parking lot.

The day before the shootings, Jackson had testified for the prosecution in her father's aggravated sexual assault of a child trial. Granger, who was living in Houston prior to the shooting, is accused of sexually assaulting a relative in his Beaumont home in 2003.

Jackson testified that she was afraid of Granger because he "was very abusive," according to a court transcript.

"He used to hit my brother and punch him and he used to choke him and he slapped me," she told the jury. "And he told me that if one day I got him mad and he choked me out ... no one would know about it and I was scared of him."

Jackson's mother, Claudia Jackson, also was wounded in Wednesday's shooting, but has since been released from the hospital.

According to the court transcripts, Samantha Jackson has a 1-year-old daughter, Genesis Naveah Jackson.

Police said Granger's other two victims, including 79-year-old Minnie Ray Sebolt who was killed in the shooting, were innocent bystanders.

Preliminary autopsy results released Friday showed Sebolt died from multiple gunshot wounds, according to reports from Justice of the Peace Nancy Beaulieu's office.

Based on witness statements, Maness said investigators have learned that Granger was disgruntled with personnel in the courtroom.

Criminal District Court Judge John Stevens was presiding over Granger's trial, which began Tuesday and had been scheduled to resume on Wednesday afternoon.

Granger's brother, 44-year-old Ulysses Granger, told The Enterprise Wednesday afternoon that Bartholomew Granger thought Stevens had "a personal vendetta" against him.

Bartholomew Granger is being held in the Jefferson County Correctional Facility on bonds totaling $4 million. He is charged with murder and aggravated sexual assault of a child.

The courthouse was closed on Thursday for investigation and cleanup. It reopened at 8 a.m. Friday.

At the courthouse at midmorning Friday, the crowd was light, with ample parking places.

The only sign that anything had been amiss was the work crew replacing glass on the right side of the main entrance.

Once inside, things seemed to be operating smoothly with everyone taking care of the business they'd come to conduct. One man came to the counter at the district clerk's office to get a work excuse regarding his interrupted jury service.

The atmosphere was typical of a week that was winding down - just another Friday - although some of the offices did close earlier than usual. ..Source.. by Heather Nolan and Elaine Wikstrom

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