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MILWAUKEE (AP) _ A murder defendant lunged for a deputy's gun Wednesday as the jury came back with a guilty verdict and was shot to death by a police officer in the courtroom, authorities said. The sheriff's deputy was wounded in the struggle.

The defendant ``lunged and struggled with the deputy,'' said Milwaukee County sheriff's Sgt. Charles G. Coughlin. ``There was a shot that fired, and the deputy was injured.''

A Milwaukee police officer who had testified in the case and was in the courtroom awaiting the verdict fired on the defendant, killing him, Coughlin said.

Deputy District Court Administrator Beth Bishop Perrigo identified the defendant as Laron Ball, 20. Ball was charged in the death of Amon Rogers, 27, who was killed during a robbery in December.

The shooting occurred on the third floor of the Milwaukee County Safety Building, which also houses the sheriff's department and other offices, police said.

The sheriff's deputy was hospitalized with a wound to the abdomen and released. Another deputy and a lawyer also were hurt in the commotion, Coughlin said. He said their injuries were not serious.

Before he was shot, Ball jumped onto a window sill and tried to throw himself through the window, but it didn't break, said Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr.

Clarke said he ordered Ball held in solitary confinement in April after he learned through an informant that Ball was planning an escape by trading identification wristbands with a prisoner set to be released or by attacking deputies during his trial.

Ball was not shackled or handcuffed Wednesday, Clarke said. The sheriff said he didn't know why the precautions were not were used.


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