The Big Story Blog

AG's office handling courthouse shooting; charges Monday

Posted at 11:55 AM on December 16, 2011 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Public Safety

Officials expect to bring charges Monday tied to the courthouse shooting of Cook County Attorney Timothy Scannell and the state attorney general's office will be handling the case.

Daniel Schlienz, 42, is accused of opening fire on the county prosecutor and two others after a jury convicted him of third-degree criminal sexual conduct stemming from his involvement with a 15-year-old girl.

As Scannell and other victims recovered from the shooting, Cook County Sheriff Mark Falk told reporters this morning that Schlienz's lawyer probably saved Scannell's life in the struggle.

UPDATE: Here's the official word on what happened Thursday, via the Minnesota Department of Public Safety:

Cook County Sheriff Mark Falk released more details today at a news conference in Grand Marais regarding the Dec. 15 shooting inside the Cook County Courthouse. Sheriff Falk explained the suspected gunman, Daniel Schlienz, 42, of Grand Marais, retrieved his handgun from his vehicle after the jury found him guilty of criminal sexual conduct and went to County Attorney Timothy Scannell's office with the loaded weapon.

A witness subpoenaed in the case was in Scannell's office. Schlienz, according to the sheriff, shot the witness, Greg Thompson, 53, Grand Marais, in the leg. Thompson fled the office. County Attorney Scannell, 45, had gone behind a counter in his office where the sheriff said Schlienz shot him. Schlienz then left the office and saw the witness Thompson on a nearby landing where the sheriff said he shot him a second time. At that point Schlienz's defense attorney came to Scannell's aid.

The bailiff, Deputy Gary Radloff, 70, Grand Marais, heard the gunshots. After clearing the jury and the judge from the courtroom, he followed the sound of the shots. Deputy Radloff confronted Schlienz and a struggle ensued, during which Deputy Radloff was injured but was not shot. Another Cook County deputy and a Minnesota State Patrol trooper arrived on the scene and took Schlienz into custody.

Schlienz was on trial for a crime to which he entered an Alford plea in 2007. Schlienz had appealed the case and was granted a trial. He was not in custody during the trial but is now in the Cook County jail. Charges are expected Monday.

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is assisting in this investigation. The Minnesota Attorney General's office will be prosecuting the case.

About Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto writes the Big Story Blog for MPR News. He joined the newsroom in 2008 after more than 20 years reporting on education, politics and the economy for news wires and newspapers across the country.

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