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
Ex-Cop Dead After Firing at Federal Building
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."

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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. (Read more West Virginia stories.)

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