Delaware courthouse shooting renews spotlight on courthouse safety and security

Williamsburg, VA (Feb. 12, 2013) -- Yesterday's shooting at a courthouse in Wilmington, Delaware, puts the national spotlight back on court security.  The shooting at the New Castle County courthouse marks at least the sixth violent attack either in or directly outside a courthouse across the nation in the last 18 months:

  • On February 5, 2013, an Assistant District Attorney was killed outside the Kaufman County courthouse in Kaufman, Texas.
  • On March 14, 2012, a man opened fire outside the Jefferson County (Texas) Courthouse, leaving his 20-year-old daughter in critical condition and wounding her mother. The gunman killed a 79-year-old woman and shot another bystander.
  • A sheriff’s deputy and a man exchanged gunfire outside a Tulsa, Oklahoma, courthouse on March 7, 2012. The gunman, deputy, as well as a bystander were shot and hospitalized.
  • A man shot a county prosecutor and two bystanders in the Cook County Courthouse in Grand Marais, Minnesota, on December 16, 2011. The gunman was arrested shortly after the shooting.
  • On September 13, 2011, a gunman wearing tactical gear and armed with three semi-automatic weapons, opened fire in a Van Buren, Arkansas judge’s office unopposed. The gunman was later shot dead by police.

The National Center for State Courts offers a variety of timely resources to assist state courts review and improve security in and around their courthouses and courtrooms:


The NCSC Backgrounder is designed to provide the media with statistics and facts related to current issues of interest.

The National Center for State Courts, headquartered in Williamsburg, Va., is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the administration of justice by providing leadership and service to the state courts. Founded in 1971 by the Conference of Chief Justices and Chief Justice of the United States Warren E. Burger, NCSC provides education, training, technology, management, and research services to the nation's state courts.