A 39-year-old man facing contempt of court charges in a divorce case walked into the Prince George's County Courthouse yesterday and opened fire on the chandelier, officials said.
Michael D. Craven walked through the front door and fired at least 10 shots into the ceiling, witnesses said. No one was injured.
Craven stopped shooting after sheriff's deputies, called to the scene by an information clerk sitting nearby, asked him to, according to Louise Ephraim, the clerk.
As part of a divorce settlement, Craven was ordered by a district court in early May to vacate the Capitol Heights house where he and his wife and children lived, according to Prince George's County Sheriff James V. Aluisi.
When Craven Refused to leave, Aluisi said, he was brought to court and held in contempt.
He was scheduled to appear in court on July 9 on contempt charges.
Craven, of 2017 Savannah St. SE, was charged yesterday with discharging a firearm within 1,000 feet of a public building, willfully and acting in a disorderly manner, sheriff's deputies said.
Aluisi said two security measures are in effect at the Upper Marlboro courthouse. Guards are stationed in and around the courtrooms, and a buzzer system operates, between the courtrooms and judges' chambers and the sheriff's department and dispatch office on the first floor.
"I've been trying to get more security here for years," Aluisi said. Aluisi said two and a half months ago he asked the county council for 29 new employes, many of whom would be used to provide courthouse security. He received only seven.
County Council member Floyd E. Wilson, Jr. said, the shooting has made him more aware of the need for security. "I think things like this have a way of dramatizing things," he said. "It's too bad we have to resort to measures after things like this happen, but that's human nature," he said.