Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Forsyth County Courthouse Shooting: Dennis Marx Plotted 'Sovereign Citizen' Attack

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Forsyth County Courthouse Shooting: Dennis Marx Plotted 'Sovereign Citizen' Attack

Article excerpt

Dennis Marx, a former TSA employee and member of the 100,000- plus "sovereign citizen" movement, planned to lay siege to a Forsyth County, Ga., courthouse and take hostages before he was killed by a sheriff's deputy on Friday.

Throwing smoke bombs and tire spikes, Marx attacked the Forsyth County Courthouse on Friday morning, striking a sheriff's deputy in the leg with a bullet. The deputy, 25-year veteran James Rush, returned fire, and Mr. Marx was killed after a brief gun battle on the street, which was joined by a local SWAT team.

According to Forsyth County Sheriff Duane Piper, Marx had in his possession buckets of homemade explosives, ammunition, smoke grenades, as well as food and water - clues that "he came here with the purpose of occupying the courthouse." Sheriff Piper added that Marx's "intention was to get in that front door and take hostages."

Sovereign citizens believe that most of the US government is illegitimate and cannot act with force of law, and Marx had made specific complaints about what he thought were illegal searches of his home that led to several drug and gun charges. He was scheduled to plead guilty to those charges on Friday, but instead he assaulted the courthouse.

Marx's trouble with the law dates back to at least 2011 when he was arrested on a number of felony charges. Those arrests led to the government attempting to cease his property under federal asset forfeiture laws. Law enforcement filed paperwork in order to seize 24 handguns, 71 gun magazines and $24,311 in cash.

His counter-complaint, filed last year, said the Forsyth County Sheriff's Department engaged in excessive force and illegal searches when targeting his activity. He also complained about the use of flash grenades during a raid.

Marx said the government's activities had made it difficult for him to find work. The TSA acknowledged to CNN that Marx worked for the agency for a short time in the early 2000s. …

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