(Reuters) - A man accused of opening fire outside a Texas courthouse, killing a 79-year-old bystander, was gunning for his daughter and her mother after they testified against him in a sexual assault case, police said on Thursday.
Bartholomew Granger, 41, was booked on a murder charge following Wednesday’s shooting rampage at the Jefferson County Courthouse in Beaumont, Texas, and was being held on $4 million bond, Beaumont Police spokeswoman Carol Riley said.
Minnie Ray Seabolt, 79, was killed in the attack that wounded three other people including Granger’s 20-year-old daughter, Samantha Jackson, Riley said.
Jackson’s mother and another woman, who was not identified by authorities, suffered lesser injuries and have been released from a local hospital.
Seabolt and the unidentified woman, who sustained a gunshot wound to the hand, were bystanders who had no connection to Granger or his family, authorities said.
Granger was also accused of running over Jackson, who suffered critical injuries, with his truck as he engaged in a wild, rolling gunfight with police.
Authorities said he held hostages in a nearby building but surrendered after a brief standoff. The hostages took a .40 caliber Smith and Wesson carbine from Granger, Riley said.
Riley said Jackson and her mother had both testified against Granger, who was on trial for sexually assaulting his daughter, and the pair appeared to be the targets of the attack.
“He was shooting toward one of the family members is what initial reports were, and he shot Minnie Ray,” Riley said. “Minnie Ray was there with a friend. She was a very vibrant, healthy 79-year-old. It’s a big shock to the community.”
Jackson remained in critical condition at a local hospital after undergoing surgery for her wounds.
“She did have surgery last night, she made it through the night but she’s not in good shape at all. She’s critical,” Riley said. “She’s in really bad shape.”
Following the attack, a judge revoked bond for the suspect’s 43-year-old brother, Lyndon Granger, who is charged with indecency with a child. Jackson is also the alleged victim in that case, Riley said.
The attack in Beaumont is the latest in a series of recent shootings across the United States at public buildings.
On March 7, a gunman fired a flurry of shots into the air and then traded gunfire with police outside the Tulsa County Courthouse in Oklahoma, wounding a sheriff’s deputy and a bystander.
Last Thursday two people were killed and seven people wounded in a shooting at a psychiatric institute at the University of Pittsburgh.
And on Friday a knife-wielding attacker stabbed a judge and shot a sheriff’s deputy with the officer’s own gun in a county courthouse in Washington state.
Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Cynthia Johnston