Police: Innocent bystander killed in courthouse shooting

Bartholomew Granger accused of sexual assault of a child

BEAUMONT, Texas - A man being tried on a charge of sexual assault of a child opened fire at a courthouse in Beaumont, killing at an innocent bystander, police said.

The shooting happened at the Jefferson County Courthouse, 1149 Pearl Street, about 11:20 a.m. Wednesday.

"We just heard a lot of shots," witness Donna Wheeler said. "At first, we just thought some cars were backfiring, but then there were too many."

Beaumont police said the shooter, identified at Bartholomew Granger, 41, fired shots from a pickup truck as he drove by the courthouse.

"The shooter shot and ran over his daughter," said Carol Riley with the Beaumont Police Department.

The daughter was taken to a hospital in critical condition.

Three other people, including the shooter's ex-wife, were wounded in the shooting, sources said.

Minnie Rae Seabolt, 79, of Deweyville, Texas, an innocent bystander, was killed, investigators said.

Granger's ex-wife and the fourth person he shot have been treated and released from a hospital.

Granger was also wounded by police as he fled, Judge Larry Gist said.

"Beaumont police officers encountered him on the street, along with Jefferson County officers, and returned fire," said Deputy Chief Vena Stephens of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office. "The subject then, after making some rounds in front of the courthouse in his vehicle, wrecked his vehicle, got out of his vehicle and then ran into a building. He entered the building and was able to get a couple hostages."

The standoff did not last long. SWAT team officers negotiated with him and he was taken into custody.

Granger was taken to a hospital and treated for his wounds. He was later released into the custody of the sheriff's office and booked into jail. He has been charged with murder.

Granger has been accused of sexually assaulting a family member, who testified against him in court on Tuesday.

Judge John Stevens said he was in the middle of docket call when he heard the shots.

Stevens is the judge presiding over Granger's trial. He said Granger's trial was supposed to resume at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

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