Security Inside Huntsville Courthouses Investigated Following Birmingham Shooting

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) In the wake of the shooting inside a Birmingham Federal Courthouse,  WHNT News 19 is looking into security at courthouses in Huntsville.

Thursday an employee went into the Hugo L. Black Federal Courthouse in Birmingham and walked into the Chief Clerk’s office with a gun.  A witness says the man, mumbled something about a will, the man reportedly put the gun to his head and pulled the trigger. He later died at the hospital.

At The Madison County Courthouse armed guards monitor the entrance. Employees are not given "pat downs" on a daily basis, but are required to display identification. Madison County Sheriff Sgt. Brian Chaffin released this statement regarding employees and security at the Madison County Courthouse.

"All citizens are checked when they enter the courthouse and all packages and deliveries are also checked before they are permitted to enter the building.  “Patting down” employees are not daily standard procedure.  All employees that enter the courthouse are required to have their Madison County employee identification visible to security personnel.  Employees are checked on a random basis using the same equipment that is required to check the public.  With the equipment available the Madison County Sheriff’s Office provides a safe and secure facility to conduct business."

The U.S. Marshall's Service provides security at the federal courthouse in Huntsville. Authorities say they contract uniformed, armed guards who are posted at the entrances of the courthouse.


U.S. Marshall's officials refused to talk about other security measures in place in federal buildings citing security reasons. WHNT News 19 has learned only Federal agents are allowed to carry firearms inside those buildings.

Authorities say security is constantly reworked and tweaked. The county courthouse has a security council that meets monthly to talk about threats to the building.