Courthouse Security - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

03/15/05 - Angelina County

Courthouse Security

by Jessica Cervantez

It has been less than three weeks since a Tyler man gun downed two people and injured others in a shooting in front of a Tyler courthouse. Then just last week, another shooting rampage inside a Georgia courtroom. The two tragic events has people asking questions about courthouse safety.

Police believe 43-year-old David Arroyo was upset about a court case when he opened fire in Tyler. Brian Nichols, originally held on a rape charge, will now also face murder charges in last week's shooting rampage that killed four people. Both of the events bring awareness to East Texas courthouses.

District Judge David Wilson, of the 217 district, said, "We are in the process of hiring an additional bailiff, not necessarily because of the events, but all of those things have made us aware."

Five years ago a security expert gave some suggestions to better secure the courthouse.

Judge Wilson said, "We have ways to notify the police department...our bailiffs are good about patrolling hallways."

But because of funding, they were only able to implement some of those suggestions.

Judge Wilson said, "As far as the outside, we have no means of protection."

Judge Wilson says of course they are conscious about what could happen, but they don't let it affect their courtroom.

"If you let something like that haunt you that is when you need to go in the back of the house," Judge Wilson said.

Judge Wilson says he is more concerned when it comes to family law cases then he was when it comes to criminal law. He says you never know what people will do when it comes to their family.

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