Gunman Killed After Shooting Up Courtroom Day After Conviction
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A ″violently crazy″ man bent on revenge after being convicted of reckless driving and weapons violations returned to the courtroom Wednesday and opened fire, wounding a bailiff before being slain, officials said.
Jeremey Sigmond, 35, a decertified chiropractor who had claimed during his trial that he thought the Mafia was following him, died in a shootout at Municipal Court in suburban Van Nuys, said Ted Goldstein, a spokesman for the city attorney’s office.
Sigmond had held a gun to the head of the deputy city attorney who prosecuted the case, Jessica Perrin Silvers, 48. She broke loose when he was momentarily distracted and was unharmed, Goldstein said.
″I realized he now apparently regarded me as part of the same conspiracy that involves the Mafia, the governor, the governor’s cousin, the district attorney, the city attorney’s office, and all the rest,″ Ms. Silvers said. ″I know that makes me start sounding like the crazy one when I say it.″
″He’s just, in layman’s terms, violently crazy, and I knew it,″ she said.
The wounded bailiff, county Deputy Marshal Cliff Wofford, 30, of Palmdale, was in stable condition at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Burbank, said hospital spokeswoman Linda Roberts. He was shot in the abdomen.
Sigmond, of Sepulveda, was convicted in the same courtroom Tuesday of four misdemeanors - reckless driving, evading police, carrying a loaded weapon and carrying a concealed weapon - stemming from a chase, Goldstein said. He was awaiting sentencing.
When Sigmond was arrested in October, he was wearing two bulletproof vests and a crash helmet and carrying a .38-caliber revolver loaded with five rounds of armor-piercing ammunition, officers said.
He testified he thought he was being chased by the Mafia instead of the California Highway Patrol. He claimed the Mafia was harassing him in retaliation for a suit he filed against the Board of Chiropractors, alleging price-fixing and restraint of trade.
Sigmond was also appealing the revocation of his state license to practice as a chiropractor.
Sigmond accosted Ms. Silvers on Wednesday minutes after she arrived at the courthouse. She said he commandeered her into the courtroom.
A bailiff pulled a gun on Sigmond, but he countered: ″Drop or I’ll kill both of you,″ said Jim Epstein, a lawyer and friend of the prosecutor.
The bailiff threw her gun behind Sigmond, and as he reached for the weapon, Ms. Silvers broke loose and locked herself in a restroom, Epstein said.
The man, waving both guns, then went toward Municipal Judge Michael B. Harwin, screaming ″something like ’I want my new day in court,‴ said George Schell, a deputy city attorney in the courtroom.
The judge started wrestling with the gunman, trying to disarm him. A second bailiff, Wofford, then rushed into the room and both he and Sigmond were wounded in the ensuing shootout, officials said.
Though fatally wounded, Sigmond continued to struggle with the judge and a bailiff who were trying to handcuff him, Schell said. Ms. Silvers said 13 casings were found around the judge’s bench.
At his sentencing, which was scheduled for May, Sigmond could have been sent to jail for up to 18 months.
One witness outside the courtroom, Becker Mubani, said that after the shooting he saw Wofford running from the courtroom, ″his left hand covering the wound.″
The officer staggered down some steps to the sidewalk as other officers ran to assist him. Mubani screamed, ″Watch 3/8 Watch 3/8 He’s wounded 3/8″
″Then the wounded officer began shouting, ’Where is the ambulance? Where is the ambulance?‴ Mubani said.