Ex-Cop Opens Fire on Federal Building
West Virginia police gun down shooter in parking lot
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted Oct 9, 2013 6:30 PM CDT
An Ohio County Sherriff Department deputy secures an area in front of the Federal Buildng in Wheeling, West Virginia Wedneday, Oct. 9, 2013, following a shooting outside the courthouse.   (AP Photo/Wheeling News Register & The Intelligencer, Scott McCloskey)

(Newser) – A former police officer opened fire on a US federal building in West Virginia today and got off more than 20 rounds before being killed, the Wheeling News-Register reports. Witnesses in small-town Wheeling said the shooter, identified as Thomas Piccard, took aim from a parking lot across the street and used an assault rifle. "I was so nervous, I couldn't believe it," said a woman in her attorney's office nearby. "People were scared and were banging on the doors asking to be let in."

She said Piccard then reloaded his rifle and shot at Wheeling's YWCA building, when a police officer and a court security officer gunned him down. Police say they have a search warrant to go through Piccard's house and look for signs of a motive, the AP reports. Asked if he had a grudge against the government, a police rep said, "We're really digging hard at this point to find out." Two security guards in the federal building were hurt by flying debris, but both were treated and released.

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Oct 11, 2013 8:09 AM CDT
IS THIS A NEW FAD? people committing suicide by invading or shooting up places that they know they going to end up dead.
Oct 10, 2013 10:58 AM CDT
Did he actually shoot anyone? Seems like a case of suicide by getting the cops to do the deed...only the cops didn't do their "job" until after he shot off more than 20 rounds! Seems like a case for the right of civilians to bear arms rather than the opposite. One civilian legally carrying a gun could have taken the guy down much sooner than what the cops did. Imagine if each of those more than 20 rounds had found a human target! Then tell me how effective waiting for the cops to show up really was in this case.
Oct 10, 2013 8:49 AM CDT
Does it matter why he was an ex-cop? No. Does it matter what you label his weapon as? No. Does it matter if he was and R. or a D.? No. The only thing that matters is this guy got off 20 shots and that's pretty f'n scary to me. There has to be a way to mitigate some of this madness through legislation of some kind. I'm just not sure what kind. And unfortunately, our legislators are all dicks with ulterior motives, so I have no faith they'll make an intelligent decision about anything let alone these shootings. As a father of two younger kids, this really scares the shit out of me.