Police: DE courthouse shooter Thomas Matusiewicz committed suicide

crime scene
Rikard Larma / Metro

Delaware State Police have released more information about yesterday’s shooting at the New Castle County Courthouse that killed three people – including alleged gunman Thomas Matusiewicz– and injured two Capitol police officers.

Investigators said 68-year-old Thomas Matusiewicz entered the courthouse lobby around 7:40 a.m. with his 45-year-old son David, who was scheduled to appear for a child support matter involving his ex-wife Christine Belford.

According to police, the younger Matusiewicz proceeded through a secure checkpoint and into the courtroom while his father remained in the lobby. When Belford entered the building with her friend, 45-year-old Laura Mulford, Thomas Matusiewicz allegedly took out a .45 caliber semiautomatic handgun and opened fire on the women at close range.

Authorities said Belford was hit in the chest and Mulford was shot as she attempted to flee.

Matusiewicz then allegedly encountered several Delaware Capitol police officers as he tried to leave the building and engaged them in a gun battle. They were both pronounced dead at the Christiana Hospital Trauma Center.

Two officers –  Michael Manley, 42, and Steven Rineheart, 50 – were shot in their ballistic vests. They were treated at Christiana for minor injuries and released.

Matusiewicz was shot once in the upper body and once in the head. An autopsy revealed that his head wound was self-inflicted and determined his cause of death to be suicide.

Delaware State Police homicide detectives are continuing to investigate and have asked that anyone who was at the courthouse during the shootout but left without being interviewed contact Delaware State Police Troop 2 at 302-834-260 ext. 0.

David Matusiewicz was interviewed by detectives, who determined he was in violation of a federal probation stemming from convictions for bank fraud and international parental kidnapping, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He was taken into custody and is being held for a hearing, set for Feb. 15.

Matusiewicz in 2009 pleaded guilty to bank fraud and international parental kidnapping and was sentenced to four years in prison and five years of supervised release.

According to court documents filed yesterday, Matusiewicz allegedly violated that probation by lying to his probation officer about where he stayed during a January trip to Delaware, falling behind on his child support payments and failing to pay penalties and restitution stemming from the case.

Court documents in the previous case filed against Matusiewicz show that he in August of 2007 applied for a $249,000 home equity loan for a property he owned with Belford. While finalizing the loan, he didn’t tell the bank representative the couple had divorced, but instead claimed that Belford was in another room and forged her signature.

Matusiewicz transferred the loan funds into an overseas bank account. He then kidnapped the couple’s three young children and fled the country with them and his mother, prompting an international search that lasted for a year and a half. He traveled through Mexico, Costa Rica and Panama before the U.S. Marshals found him in Nicaragua and took him into custody in March of 2009.

“I think what happened here, Judge, was that Mr. Matusiewicz’s judgment, which had been exemplary up until the point that he committed this crime, was clouded by his emotional attachment to his children, was clouded by the turmoil and depression that he was experiencing because of his divorce, was clouded by the fact that but for his limited relationship and close relationship with his parents and his sister and his three children, is one of isolation,” his lawyer Heriberto Medrano said during a hearing.


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