Judge, deputy wounded in Wash. courthouse attack - KPTV - FOX 12

Judge, deputy wounded in Wash. courthouse attack

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A man wounded a judge and a sheriff's deputy in a shooting and stabbing attack Friday at a courthouse in a tiny Washington state town that was later placed in lockdown as authorities hunted for the assailant.

Grays Harbor Community Hospital spokesman David Quigg said Judge David Edwards and Deputy Polly Davin were stable and conscious after the attack at the Grays Harbor County Courthouse, about 90 miles southwest of Seattle.

State Patrol Trooper Russ Winger said the attack included a shooting and stabbing, but details of the injuries were not immediately known.

Much of the town of Montesano remained on lockdown as authorities surrounded a home where they believed the suspect may be armed with a pistol.

The attack comes less than four months after Edwards had joined a lawsuit to protest planned state budget cuts he said were making the courthouse where the attack occurred dangerous. According to budget information from the county, the superior court budget had been cut from $733,320 in 2010 to $645,818 for 2012.

"Anyone can enter the courthouse carrying weapons," said the lawsuit filed in December. According to the lawsuit, there had been a number of dangerous episodes inside the courthouse in the last two years, including a defendant charging at one judge in the courtroom and a man armed with knife asking directions to the office of a judge.

The attack has shaken the community of 4,000 near the Washington coast. Kathie Wilson, who works at a law firm near the courthouse, said her office locked their doors after getting a call from her daughter-in-law, who was locked in a school while picking her child.

"Everybody in our area has called each other, locking down, we are all watching and waiting to see when everything is OK," Wilson said.

A SWAT team stormed a house where the suspect was believed to be, but apparently found nobody inside. A half-dozen officers in camouflage uniforms took cover after tossing inside a device that caused a sound similar to a small blast and a cloud of white smoke.

Edwards was appointed to Grays Harbor County Superior Court in 2007 by Gov. Chris Gregoire. He had been a private attorney, and had also served as a prosecutor in the late 1970s.

Associated Press writers Doug Esser and Manuel Valdes in Seattle, Shannon Dininny in Yakima, Wash., and Rachel La Corte in Olympia, Wash., contributed to this report.

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.

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