CUMMING, Ga. — Authorities killed a man Fridaywhom they say shot a sheriff's deputy in the leg outside the Forsyth County Courthouse.
The man, gun trader Dennis Ronald Marx, 48, drove up on the sidewalk in front of the courthouse at about 10 a.m. ET, threw spike strips and explosives out his car window to keep officers from reaching him then began shooting through the windshield of his SUV with an assault rifle, Forsyth County Sheriff Duane Piper said. Deputies returned fire, shooting Marx multiple times.
It was unclear whether the deputy who first encountered Marx killed the suspect.
"When the deputy engaged him outside, it saved lives," Piper said. "The entire situation was solved by that deputy's actions."
Authorities later identified the officer as James Rush, 46, of Cumming. He's been a Forsyth County deputy since February 1990 and is expected to make a full recovery.
Officials say Marx had planned the attack for a long time. He was carrying grenades, homemade explosive devices, water, zip ties and several magazines of ammunition and had rigged his body with explosives.
Court records show that Marx filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the sheriff's department in 2013.
More than a year ago, Marx was arrested on charges of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and firearm possession by a convicted felon, said his lawyer, Ann Shafer
He was scheduled to appear in court Friday morning to enter a plea but did not show up.
Shafer said she waited for her client, whom she described as slightly unstable at times, for about 40 minutes then left the courthouse about 40 miles northeast of Atlanta. As she walked out, she heard gunshots and wondered whether Marx was responsible.
"I find people remarkable in their reactions to the legal business," Shafer said. "I feel very lucky that I walked out the back of the courthouse instead of the front."
Marx had made veiled threats against her and his other lawyers in the past, she said.
"We lawyers take our chances in representing people who are not always the most stable on the face of the earth," Shafer said.
In Marx's federal complaint against the Forsyth County Sheriff's Department, he accused deputies of using excessive force and making illegal searches. He claimed that officers hit him when he was standing with his hands up, used chemical agents to make him believe an explosion or fire had occurred and used an extra set of handcuffs that cut off circulation to his hands.
A lawyer representing the sheriff's department in the case was not immediately available.
About two hours after the attack, the area around the Forsyth County Courthouse was secured, Piper said.
Officers are searching Marx's home in Cumming, which has about 5,500 residents, and are worried that it might be booby trapped. He apparently had not been living at his house for the past 10 days.