A man stabbed a judge and shot a sheriff’s deputy Friday afternoon in a Washington state county courthouse, reports the Bellingham Herald. Authorities were searching for the man over the weekend, and the article says it was unclear why the suspect had been at the building.
Judge David Edwards, who was stabbed while attempting to stop the assailant, had previously raised the issue of security at the courthouse, writes the King 5 News. In December, Edwards took part in a lawsuit filed over county budget cuts that reduced funding for courthouse security. The court building is not equipped with a metal detector, and there was no on-site security Friday afternoon, according to an article in the Seattle Times. The judges’ chambers are open to the public as well.
According to another Seattle Times article, there have been several past incidents of violence in the courthouse. Over the past two years, “two attorneys were assaulted, a defendant ‘charged’ a judge, and a judge who received a death threat during trial was not provided with adequate security.”
The article cites a significant budget cut for the lax security. State court administrator Jeff Hall argues that despite the budget, “all courts should screen for weapons at every access point.” Courthouses are privy to a variety of incidents, Hall said.
Judge Edwards and Deputy Polly Davin were treated and released from a local hospital hours after the Friday attack. The suspect, identified as Steven Daniel Kravetz, was found and arrested at his mother’s house in Olympia over the weekend according to USA Today News.