ATLANTA (AP) — The man who police say staged an assault on a Georgia courthouse carefully planned the weapons and supplies he would need to enter the building and harm people inside, authorities said Saturday as they sought to explain why Dennis Marx opened fire outside the building, wounding one deputy before dying in a shootout.
Police said they found a checklist at Marx’s home in Cumming, Georgia, that matched the items inside the rented silver Nissan SUV used in Friday’s mid-morning attack. Marx had a number of bags and buckets holding homemade and commercial explosive devices that could be clipped to hostages; a gas mask; two handguns; zip ties and two bulletproof vests, police said. They said Marx, 48, wore one of the vests and clipped a hand grenade and wire to himself as a booby trap.
“All the items were checked off,” Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Doug Rainwater said. “So this was a very deliberate planned assault on the Forsyth County courthouse.”
Investigators still have questions about any motive Marx, 48, had for the attack that began about 10 a.m. Friday on the courthouse square in Cumming. Marx had been due in court to plead guilty in a drug case earlier Friday.
“We’re trying to piece everything together,” Rainwater told The Associated Press by telephone Saturday. “Him driving to the courthouse and doing what he did at the same time he was supposed to be in court is an indication that’s related.”
The deputy who first engaged Marx outside the courthouse remained in stable condition on Saturday after being shot in the leg. Deputy Daniel Rush has been credited by county Sheriff Duane Piper for saving lives.
Rainwater said Rush, a 25-year veteran of the department, was “in good spirits, talking, alert and laughing.”
“He’s ready to get back to work,” Rainwater said.
Streets near the courthouse were reopened Saturday, but authorities say the building will be closed until damage from Friday’s shootout is repaired. Marx’s home was not booby-trapped as police initially believed on Friday, but authorities did find at least four explosive devices.
Authorities were familiar with Marx, who had placed obstacles around his home about 40 miles northeast of Atlanta when officers came to arrest him in the past.
Marx has had numerous run-ins with the law, dating to at least 2011. In August of that year, he was arrested on numerous felony charges, including selling marijuana and weapon possession.
That same month, authorities filed papers in an effort to seize weapons and money found after an undercover officer bought drugs from Marx. Court documents show authorities wanted to seize two dozen handguns and rifles, 71 gun magazines and $24,311 in cash.
Marx also had filed a federal civil rights complaint against the sheriff’s department in 2013, according to court records.
Associated Press Writer Kate Brumback in Cumming, Georgia, contributed to this report.
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