ATLANTA - A man on trial for rape grabbed a deputyâ€™s gun and opened fire at an Atlanta courthouse on Friday, killing a judge and two other people before escaping and triggering a manhunt that ranged across several Southeastern states.
The suspect, 33-year-old Brian Nichols, went on the rampage despite added security ordered when he was found carrying homemade weapons a day earlier, District Attorney Paul Howard Jr. said.
Killed in the shooting were Superior Court Judge Rowland Barnes, his court reporter and a Fulton County deputy who confronted the gunman outside the courthouse and was shot.
The female deputy who was overpowered by Nichols while transporting him from a courthouse detention center to the courtroom was hospitalized in critical condition with facial fractures and a gunshot wound to the head but was expected to live, hospital officials said.
Late Friday afternoon, a caller to the district attorney's office who appeared to be Nichols, according to office staffers, threatened the life of Gail Abramson, the assistant district attorney who was handling his case.
Speaking to NBC's Dan Abrams Friday afternoon, Howard said that authorities were checking into the call, trying to determine whether or not it was a hoax, but Howard added, 'Based on what we have seen today, (Nichols) certainly is capable of it.'
Howard said he and his family, Abramson and her family and the alleged rape victim and her family were all in protective custody.
Speaking of Abramson, Howard said: â€œI think sheâ€™s in shock.â€?
Searching for green Accord
Authorities were searching for a green Honda Accord â€” with Georgia license plate no. 6584-YN â€” that was stolen from a newspaper reporter who was pistol-whipped in a parking garage
'pet what? pet her kneecap farrel'