At about 2:45 P.M. on Wednesday, October 9th, police shot a former police officer dead after he opened fire on a Federal courthouse in Wheeling, West Virginia with an assault rifle. AATTP was in attendance at the press conference, and captured the whole thing in the video below.
Police aren’t confirming the shooter’s name, but witnesses on the scene say it was a man by the name of Tom Piccard. Piccard was a 15-year veteran of the Wheeling police department who resigned in July of 2000 for reasons unknown. Police say that the weapon used was an “assault rifle” type, and witnesses on scene describe it as “looking like an AK-47.”
Piccard fired 15 to 20 rounds into the Federal courthouse from a parking lot across the street. Witnesses say the attack appeared to be directed against the building itself as opposed to anyone inside. Two people received “non-life-threatening” injuries in the assault, one being Chief Deputy Mike Cox. Cox was apparently injured by shattering glass.
The district attorney told journalists that his office was understaffed because of the government shutdown. AATTP asked if the shutdown had affected the ability of police to respond to the incident. The chief of police responded (paraphrasing):
“No. They were on the scene. They ran into the fire while everyone else was running away. They were heroes.“
Particulars about the shooter’s background and motivations are unknown, and will remain so until more information surfaces about him. It’s possible that he was receiving government benefits that had been interrupted by the shutdown. It’s possible that the attack being directed against a Federal building was a statement in itself.
But that’s all conjecture. All we know for sure right now is that a former cop shot up a building with an assault rifle, got shot himself, and two people walked away with fairly minor injuries. We’ll deliver more on the story as facts show up. until then, here’s a clip from local news WTRF of a witness to the scene.
Watch this exclusive coverage of the press conference from AATTP: