Man shot at Jackson County Courthouse identified

JACKSON COUNTY, Ala. – A Jackson County Sheriff’s Office said a man shot at the county courthouse Wednesday morning had a loaded handgun on his side and four magazines of ammunition in his pocket.

Jackson County Chief Deputy Rocky Harnen identified the man shot by courthouse security as Fred Swearengin, 72, of the Letcher community.

Authorities said Wednesday that Swearengin walked in the courthouse with a handgun on his side and approached courthouse security. Words were exchanged with deputies, they said, and Swearengin was shot when he tried to pull the gun.

Harnen said authorities had not had issues with Swearengin prior to the incident, and investigators are still working to determine why he was there.

“We do not know what his motivation was or where he was headed,” he said.

Both deputies that were working security at the door where Swearengin came in are on paid administrative leave until at least Monday, Harnen said. The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency State Bureau of Investigation is handling the shooting investigation.

Swearengin was taken to Huntsville Hospital where he underwent surgery, authorities said. His condition wasn’t immediately available Thursday morning.

Harnen said the Jackson County Courthouse’s security committee would meet soon to discuss the incident and determine whether changes need to be made. The committee is made up of courthouse elected officials and employees.

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