Live

Watch CBSN Live

Alleged Texas gunman held on murder charge in courthouse shooting

Scene outside the Jefferson County Courthouse in Beaumont, Texas where a shooting took place on Tuesday, March 14, 2012. CBS News/NNS

(CBS/AP) BEAUMONT, Texas - A defendant in a family dispute was being held without bail on a murder charge after police say he fatally shot an elderly woman as she tried to run inside a Texas courthouse Wednesday, setting off a shootout with law enforcement officers that briefly became a hostage situation.

41-year-old Bartholomew Granger was also accused of wounding three other people, including his daughter, who authorities said he ran over with a pickup truck while he tried to escape.

Granger was arrested, treated at a hospital, and taken to jail.

The woman killed, Minnie Ray Seabolt, 79, appeared to be an innocent bystander, Jefferson Country Sheriff Mitch Woods said. Granger's daughter remained hospitalized in critical condition, said authorities.

Granger was at the Jefferson County Courthouse Wednesday for his trial on charges that he sexually assaulted a family member.  According to the Houston Chronicle, authorities said he reportedly grabbed a gun from his truck and began shooting at relatives outside the courthouse. Seabolt was fatally struck as she tried to run into the courthouse, while Granger's daughter and another bystander fell to the ground.

Several law enforcement officials returned fire as the courthouse went on lockdown. "It was crazy," said Beaumont Police Chief Jimmy Singletary. "He was shooting. Our guys were shooting."

Police say Granger was firing from his truck, and then ran over his daughter as he drove away. He went about three blocks before abandoning his truck in the middle of the street and then taking hostages in a nearby construction business, police said.

Once inside, Granger spoke by phone to police and told them he was wounded. He eventually surrendered and was taken to the hospital.

Granger's attorney, Rife Kimler, said Granger's trial had begun this week and his daughter, 20, had testified against him Tuesday afternoon. She had been scheduled to be cross-examined by Kimler on Wednesday afternoon, the attorney said.

Kimler said the ongoing case was emotional, but he thought the trial had been going reasonably well. "I didn't have him on my list of dangerous ones," Kimler said of Granger. "I've been doing this 21 years, and the ones I think are dangerous are in a file in my head. He wasn't in that file."

More on Crimesider
March 14, 2012 - At least 1 dead, 2 wounded in Beaumont, Texas courthouse shooting, report says

View CBS News In