February 12, 2013 / 11:00 PM / 7 years ago

Gunman in Delaware court killings was headed for son's hearing

(Reuters) - The gunman who killed his former daughter-in-law in a Delaware courthouse on Monday was accompanying his son to a child support hearing when he opened fire, police said on Tuesday.

The shooter was identified as Thomas Matusiewicz, 68, who shot Christine Belford, 39, of Newark, Delaware and her friend, Laura Mulford, 45, in the lobby of New Castle County Courthouse on Monday, killing them both.

His son is divorced from Belford and is the father of their three girls.

“Thomas S. Matusiewicz approached the two female victims that were standing within the public lobby area, produced a .45 caliber semiautomatic handgun and fired multiple rounds at close range, striking Belford in the upper body,” said a police statement released on Tuesday.

“Mulford attempted to flee and Matusiewicz fired multiple rounds at close range, striking Mulford in the upper body,” police said.

Capitol Police fired at Matusiewicz as he tried to flee. Two officers were hit in the ensuing gun battle but were saved by their bullet-proof vests.

Matusiewicz, who had been shot once in the upper body, shot himself in the head, dying at the scene, police said. The medical examiner ruled his death a suicide.

Police said the gunman had gone to court with his son, David Matusiewicz, for a child support hearing in the contentious custody case.

David Matusiewicz recently served a prison sentence for kidnapping the girls and hiding out with the children and his mother for 19 months in Nicaragua and other countries.

David Matusiewicz, an optometrist, was back in court on Tuesday in an orange jumpsuit to face charges of violation of probation in connection with the kidnapping case, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Lesley Wolf.

He appeared before federal Judge Mary Pat Thynge, who ordered him to appear at a detention hearing on Friday.

Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Todd Eastham

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