Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Man Opens Fire in Kansas Court Suspect Awaiting Drug Sentence Kills 1, Injures 4 before Dying in Explosion

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Man Opens Fire in Kansas Court Suspect Awaiting Drug Sentence Kills 1, Injures 4 before Dying in Explosion

Article excerpt

A man about to be sentenced on drug and weapons charges rode an elevator to a federal court Thursday and began firing handguns and lobbing pipe bombs when the doors opened, killing a security officer and wounding a bystander, the FBI said.

The gunman died about an hour later when explosives strapped to his body detonated, perhaps accidentally, FBI agent Brian Carroll said. At least three other people were seriously injured in the blast.

But authorities did not know until about six hours later that the man was dead, and about nine people spent the time hiding in locked offices. Two judges and their staffs also took cover after the initial gunfire but escaped down stairs out of the gunman's sight.

The body of Jack Gary McKnight, 37, was found just inside the U.S. District Court clerk's office on the fourth floor of the Frank Carlson Federal Building.

Carroll refuted an earlier report from an FBI spokesman that the gunman had fatally shot himself in the head.

SWAT team members did not immediately disturb the body and kept the building under heavy guard Thursday night while it was checked to see whether McKnight had set other explosives before going to the clerk's office.

McKnight, of nearby Meriden, was scheduled to be sentenced on drug and weapons charges Thursday on the fourth floor of the four-level building.

The FBI said McKnight apparently blew up his truck outside the Jefferson County Courthouse in Oskaloosa northeast of Topeka about 8:30 a.m. and then drove to Topeka in a car he blew up in the federal building parking lot about 9:30 a.m., apparently to divert security officers.

Jackie Williams, U.S. attorney for Kansas, said McKnight apparently began firing weapons as soon as the elevator doors opened on the fourth floor. Carroll said McKnight also tossed pipe bombs, causing at least three or four explosions inside the building. …

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