Courthouse Security Stepped Up After Deadly Shootings in the 90s

Visitors to the Earle Cabell federal courthouse, where a shooter opened fire early Monday, have to be screened at both public entrances, which are equipped with metal detectors as well as X-ray machines for bags and other possessions.Those who want to enter a courtroom have to go through a second security screening on the individual floors, also with metal detectors and X-ray machines.Visitors do not have to remove their shoes when going through the entrances. However, they are required to do so during the secondary security screenings in order to get access to the courtrooms. No one was injured in Monday’s shooting, and the gunman was shot dead. He never made it into the building.While metal detectors and other security measures are common at courthouses today, it took two deadly rampages in the early 1990s before the widespread adoption of security screenings in state and county courthouses in North Texas. Federal courthouses, which operate under a different system, beefed up security following the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.On July 1, 1992, George Lott opened fire inside the Tarrant County Courthouse, killing two lawyers, seriously wounding two appellate judges and grazing another attorney.Lott had been indicted a few months earlier on aggravated sexual assault charges stemming from allegations that he had sexually abused his son at a motel in Peoria, Ill., according to police and court records. He was scheduled to be tried July 24 on the more serious of the charges, according to the prosecutor’s office in Peoria, where the son lived.  Continue reading...

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