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Prosecutor, 2 others shot at Minn. courthouse

The suspect, Daniel Schlienz, 42, was immediately taken into custody after the shootings Thursday afternoon

The Associated Press

GRAND MARAIS, Minn. — A defendant in a sexual misconduct trial opened fire in a small northern Minnesota courthouse, injuring three people _ including the local prosecutor, who underwent surgery for multiple gunshot wounds, authorities said.

The suspect, Daniel Schlienz, 42, was immediately taken into custody after the shootings Thursday afternoon at the Cook County Courthouse in Grand Marais, a remote town near the Canadian border, State Public Safety spokesman Doug Neville said.

Schlienz, who had been on trial earlier Thursday on sexual misconduct charges. His father told the Duluth News Tribune that he went to the courthouse and was told that his son was the shooter. He said his son had recently threatened suicide.

"He hated the prosecuting attorney that did this," Gary Schlienz told the newspaper. "I don't want to make excuses for him, but they prosecuted him pretty bad. He had no job, no money, nothing."

Cook County prosecutor Timothy Scannell was undergoing surgery Thursday night at Essentia Health-St. Mary's Medical Center in Duluth, spokeswoman Beth Johnson said. Scannell and another hospitalized victim were conscious and talking before being taken to the hospital, while the third victim was treated and released, Neville said.

Online state court records listed several cases involving Daniel Schlienz in the past two decades, but most were minor traffic cases. More serious charges included fleeing a peace officer and the criminal sexual conduct case, which was first filed in 2006.

The newspaper reported that Schlienz had entered an Alford plea in that case in 2007 on charges that he sexually assaulted two 15-year-old girls and one 17-year-old girl. His father told the newspaper that his son later decided to withdraw the plea and fight the charges.

A county official said the courthouse doesn't have metal detectors and visitors aren't usually searched.

Scannell was handling the only case on Thursday's court calendar, a jury trial that began Monday for Schlienz, who had been charged with criminal sexual conduct and nonconsensual sex contact.

Phone messages left Thursday at both of the men's homes by The Associated Press were not returned.

The county's two-story courthouse, which has just one courtroom, has no metal detectors and visitors aren't searched when they enter the building, Cook County Commissioner Fritz Sobanja said.

"As far as I know, there's no checking for knives or any of that stuff," Sobanja said.

Grand Marais, home to about 1,300 residents, is about 110 miles northeast of Duluth and sits along the shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota's far northeastern tip.


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