3 shot in Cook County courthouse in Grand Marais
GRAND MARAIS -- A former boxer who was said to have "hated the prosecuting attorney" allegedly opened fire in the Cook County courthouse Thursday, leaving County Attorney Tim Scannell and two others injured with gunshot wounds.
Daniel Schlienz, 42, was the defendant in a criminal sexual conduct case that was being heard in the Grand Marais courthouse Thursday, according to court records. He was arrested immediately after the shooting and is being held in the Cook County Jail, authorities said.
Before officials identified Schlienz, his father told the News Tribune that Schlienz was probably the suspect.
"He hated the prosecuting attorney that did this," said Gary Schlienz of Grand Marais.
Gary Schlienz said his son's mother, Ginger Berglund, was in the courthouse during the shooting and tried to take the gun away from her son.
"He didn't think of anybody else at the time, I'm sure," Gary Schlienz said.
Schlienz said the prosecution of his son had taken a severe toll, with his son threatening suicide as recently as two weeks ago.
"I don't want to make excuses for him, but they prosecuted him pretty bad. He had no job, no money, nothing," Gary Schlienz said.
Cook County Sheriff Mark Falk said authorities are not seeking any other suspects in the shooting.
John Kostouros, a spokesman for the Minnesota Judicial Branch, said he was told the shooting occurred after a guilty verdict was returned in a case presided over by 6th Judicial District Judge Mark Munger of Duluth. Kostouros said neither Munger nor courtroom staff were injured.
Kostouros said he was told that the shooting occurred near County Attorney Scannell's office. Scannell, who was elected in 2006, was listed on the court calendar as the prosecuting attorney in Schlienz's case.
Schlienz is a former boxer who in 2006 entered an Alford plea on charges that he sexually assaulted two 15-year-old girls and one 17-year-old girl. In 2007, he moved to withdraw the plea, a motion that was initially denied by the sentencing court. The Court of Appeals in
January ruled that his plea withdrawal should have been accepted and reversed his conviction, which paved the way for the trial.
Gary Schlienz said he had no warnings that his son might harm others.
"I apologize to everybody for this and I wish to God it hadn't happened," Gary Schlienz said.
Schlienz said he didn't know how his son could obtain a gun. He said that when Daniel Schlienz initially pleaded guilty to criminal sexual conduct in 2006, he went to his son's home, took his guns, and put them in a safe in his home.
Schlienz said he checked the guns today, and none was taken.
The Cook County Sheriff's Office said the three victims were hit by gunfire in the Grand Marais courthouse just after 4 p.m. Thursday.
Scannell and another victim, whose identity has not been released, were transported to Essentia Health St. Mary's Medical Center. Both were conscious and talking before they were transported, according to Doug Neville, spokesman for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
The third victim, also not yet identified, was treated and released from Cook County North Shore Hospital in Grand Marais.
Scannell was listed in stable condition before going into surgery about 9 p.m.
Before the surgery, his son Kieran Scannell posted a message on Facebook about his father's condition.
"When he left Cook County he was talking, his color was good, and the doctors said he was going to be OK," he wrote. "Thanks for the support."
Neville said that the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigators were dispatched to Grand Marais to assist the Cook County Sheriff's investigators.
Gary Schlienz told the News Tribune he went to the courthouse, where he was told this son was responsible for the shooting. He was told that two people were shot -- a bailiff in the arm, and a prosecuting attorney in the body.
Daniel Schlienz had been a professional fighter for Duluth boxing promoter Chuck Horton in the early 2000s, Horton told the News Tribune. Horton said Schlienz was his first professional fighter, but he fired him over concerns that he had about how he treated women.
"My instincts said 'something's not right,'" Horton said.
Horton said he was going to testify about Schlienz's behavior in the trial, but was called yesterday by the prosecuting attorney that his testimony was being blocked.
Aside from the crime scene tape that blocked the parking lot and the courthouse doorways, there was little indication of the violence that had occurred in the afternoon. A few lights were on in the upper floor of the building, and light snow fell on the few vehicles still in the parking lot.
At Sven and Ole's Pizza, locals found it hard to believe that a shooting had happened in their small town, tossing around words like "shocking," "unexpected" and "tragic." The diners tried to narrow down who might have been related to the shooting victims or the shooter himself.
The Cook County Courthouse in Grand Marais will be closed today, according to Cook County's official Twitter account.