County courthouse shooting kills 1, wounds 1

One person was killed and another was seriously injured Monday after a woman opened fire in the Hennepin County Government Center, authorities said.

At approximately 10 a.m., the suspect shot a female in the bathroom and a male in an area of housing court commonly called “harassment court,” located on the 17th floor in the government center’s administration tower. Sheriff’s deputies said they are unsure which shooting happened first.

Deputies took one woman into custody and recovered a weapon at the scene.

Both victims were transported to Hennepin County Medical Center to undergo surgery.

Hennepin County Sheriff Patrick McGowan said the two women appeared to be involved in a property dispute, but he would not comment further.

McGowan said the male victim is believed to be the attorney for one of the women. He could not specify whether the attorney represented the victim or the suspect.

The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the case with Minneapolis police. Despite the shootings, the government center remained open and continued regular operation in the afternoon.

McGowan said the government center was re-secured and that employees and visitors are not in danger.

Police interviewed witnesses and employees on the 17th floor before sending them home.

“This is a huge tragedy for everyone in the building,” said Kevin Burke, chief judge for the Fourth Judicial District at the Hennepin County Government Center.

McGowan said he believes this is the first shooting at the government center.

He said officials will re-evaluate security measures. McGowan declined to comment further on the investigation.

While there are no metal detectors at the entrances to the government center’s administration tower, guns are prohibited on the premises.

The center’s court tower requires visitors to pass through metal detectors.

In St. Paul, the Ramsey County Court House and jail both have metal detectors. The metal detectors in the courthouse were installed Sept. 11, 2001, and in the county jail within the last year, Ramsey County public information officer Dave Verhasselt said.

– Sarah Klaphake contributed to this report.