Officers in Crawford County, Ark., who fatally shot a man with a murderous grudge against the judge who approved his divorce were justified in using deadly force to stop a courthouse shooting, the county prosecutor has ruled.
James Ray Palmer, 48, entered the Crawford County Courthouse in Van Buren on Sept. 13 with several handguns and a rifle. He began searching for Judge Gary Cottrell and, after entering his office, fired at staff members. Cottrell's administrative assistant, Vickie Jones, was hit in the leg.
Palmer then headed down to the first floor and fired at offices. He went outside and fired at responding patrol units from the Van Buren Police Department and Crawford County Sheriff's Department.
Five officers returned fire at Palmer, who was struck and died later. Van Buren PD's Officer David Passen suffered glass cuts from windows in his patrol vehicle being struck by rounds fired by Palmer, as well as metal fragments in his leg.
In exonerating the officers, Prosecuting Attorney Marc McCune said it was clear Palmer drove to the courthouse "with the intent to kill or seriously injure Judge Gary Cottrell, staff and anyone that he encountered."
Source: Press Argus-Courier.