Gunman fires at US courthouse in West Virginia

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WHEELING, W.Va. (AP) — A man with an assault-type rifle fired up to two dozen rounds at the federal court building in a West Virginia city on Wednesday before security officers returned fire, critically wounding the gunman, the U.S. Marshals Service said.

One security officer within the Wheeling Federal Building was injured by flying debris, but there were no other injuries, said Chief Deputy Mike Claxton of the Marshals Service in northern West Virginia.

The gunman, whose name was not released, was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries, Claxton said.

He said investigators were seeking a search warrant for the gunman’s home in hopes of determining the motive and if he acted alone.

Asked if the gunman had any beef with the U.S. government, Claxton said, “We’re really digging hard at this point to find out.”

Claxton said the man began firing from a parking lot across from the federal building. “He was observed in the parking lot very quickly after the first shots were fired,” he said.

Courthouse security and local police ultimately returned fire and hit the man. He did not know if there was an exchange of gunfire.

The building houses a variety of courtrooms and related offices.

“This is a federal building with judges and prosecutors and law enforcement,” Claxton said. “It’s a very serious incident that infringes upon the third branch of government.”

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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