Northland courthouses have fewer security features than others in Minnesota

Defendant's attorney recounts courthouse shootings

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live

Quick actions likely saved lives in Cook County Courthouse shootings

The man accused of Thursday's shooting and struggle in the Cook County Courthouse is remorseful for what happened, his father said Saturday.

"He knows he's done for," Gary Schlienz said of a conversation he had with his son, Daniel Schlienz, on Friday at the Cook County Jail in Grand Marais. "He knows there's no getting around this."

Daniel Schlienz, 42, of Grand Marais is expected to be charged in St. Louis County District Court on Monday with shooting two men late Thursday afternoon in a courthouse assault that followed his conviction for criminal sexual conduct. Schlienz has been transferred to the St. Louis County Jail.

The victims, Cook County Attorney Tim Scannell and Greg Thompson, who had been subpoenaed as a witness in the sexual conduct case, remained at Essentia Health St. Mary's Medical Center on Saturday, hospital spokeswoman Beth Johnson said. Scannell was in fair condition and Thompson in good condition. Both declined requests for interviews. Johnson said both would be hospitalized at least through the weekend.

Deputy Gary Radloff, the court bailiff, and Molly Hicken, the assistant county attorney, were injured in the ensuing struggle but were treated and released at Cook County Northshore Hospital on Thursday. The hospital and the courthouse are in Grand Marais.

Gary Schlienz, who lives in Grand Marais, said Daniel Schlienz told him that he left the courthouse after the verdict was pronounced intending to get a gun out of his truck and shoot himself. "When we told him the things that happened, he kept saying, 'I did? I did?'" Gary Schlienz related. "He didn't even remember what happened."

But his son said he was "really sorry" that it happened, Gary Schlienz said.

Daniel Schlienz said he didn't mean to hurt Thompson, his father said. "Greg Thompson was just at the wrong place at the wrong time."

Asked if that meant his son did intend to hurt Scannell, Gary Schlienz reiterated that Daniel said he had no memory of what happened.

Asked if his son had planned all along to kill himself if he was found guilty, Gary Schlienz said he didn't know that.

"I do know that he said he would rather be dead than where he's at now," Gary Schlienz said.

But Daniel Schlienz hadn't expected the verdict, his father said.

"He was sure he would be found not guilty," Gary Schlienz said. "He just snapped. It had been a long road for him for six years."

Daniel Schlienz, a former boxer, entered an Alford plea in 2006 on charges that he sexually assaulted two 15-year-old girls and one 17-year-old girl. In an Alford plea, the defendant does not admit the act but acknowledges that the prosecution likely could prove the charge.

But in 2007, Daniel Schlienz moved to withdraw his plea. The sentencing court denied his motion, but the Court of Appeals ruled in January that his plea withdrawal should have been accepted. That led to his trial this fall.

In an earlier interview, Gary Schlienz said his son had threatened to kill himself as recently as two weeks ago.

Although a few people in the community have been supportive, Gary Schlienz said the fallout from Thursday's events have taken a toll on his family.

"I haven't even dared to go to town," he said. "It's hard to face people."

His daughter works in the county auditor's office. "She's dreading going to work," Gary Schlienz said.

The Cook County Courthouse has been closed since the shootings took place and will remain closed until 10 a.m. Tuesday, according to an announcement released on Friday.