Video of Van Buren, Arkansas Courthouse shooting

I will be attending the Van Buren at LR Central game this week and I have been visiting Van Buren on several occasions the last few years and I fell in love with their beautiful downtown area. I have been meaning to go on one of those train rides from Van Buren to Springdale that everyone has gone on.

Evidently Van Buren fell asleep at the wheel when it came to the security at the courthouse. I bet that doesn’t happen again.

test4Courthouse Shooting

Corey S. Krasko • Times Record

The Arkansas Times Blog posted this link to the S.W.Times:

Posted: Tuesday, September 20, 2011 6:19 pm | Updated: 6:26 pm, Tue Sep 20, 2011.

Prosecutor Releases Courthouse Shooting Video By Jeff Arnold
TIMES RECORD • JARNOLD@SWTIMES.COM The Times Record | 0 comments

Crawford County Prosecuting Attorney Marc McCune on Tuesday released video of James Ray Palmer’s rampage at the county courthouse that ended when law enforcement shot Palmer on the courthouse lawn.

Palmer, 48, of Kibler, armed with an assault rifle equipped with a laser sight and two handguns, walked into the Van Buren courthouse Sept. 13 looking for Circuit Court Judge Gary Cottrell.

Palmer shot Cottrell’s secretary, Vickie Jones, in the leg as he entered the judge’s office before walking back out in the hall once he learned the judge wasn’t there.

In the video, it appears that Palmer attempts to shoot a second employee fleeing the judge’s office as he walks in the hall, but his rifle jams and Palmer struggles with it as he moves to the ground floor of the courthouse.

McCune said an investigator believes it’s possible faulty springs in the clips prevented rounds from being forced into the chamber, causing the gun to malfunction.

Although a dirty weapon also could cause the rifle to malfunction, McCune said, law enforcement found an open gun-cleaning kit at Palmer’s home, although no one could say it specifically was used to clean the rifle.

After reaching the ground floor, Palmer continued to fire shots before exiting the courthouse through the north entrance. There, he engaged in a gun battle with law enforcement.

Palmer was shot once in the right leg and once in the head. He later died at St. Edward Mercy Medical Center in Fort Smith.

McCune said it appears Palmer was shot in the leg before he discarded his assault rifle near the northeast corner of the building and began walking up an embankment on the lawn, where he was shot a second time and fell to the ground.

McCune said investigators found blood drops near the discarded assault rifle.

On Monday, McCune ruled that Lt. Stephen Staggs, detective Randy Allen and officer David Passen, all with the Van Buren Police Department, and Chief Deputy Jimmy Damante and Capt. Shawn Firestine, both with the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office, were justified in using deadly force when confronted by Palmer.

McCune said it is unknown who fired the fatal shot.

Although video provided by the prosecutor’s office captured images of Palmer firing at Jones and striking her and Palmer collapsing on the lawn after being shot by law enforcement, the Times Record did not include those shootings in excerpts posted online.

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