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State court offices, law firm on lockdown after shots fired in Indianapolis

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A lone gunman caused downtown Indianapolis – including Indiana State Court Administration offices and law firm Barnes & Thornburg – to be on lockdown today.

The gunman was atop a South Meridian Street parking garage when he fired "indiscriminate" shots into the air Thursday afternoon before shooting himself and falling to the sidewalk below, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police spokesman Lt. Jeff Duhamell said.

Officers were called to the Denison Parking garage just north of Maryland Street about 2:20 p.m. after receiving reports of shots fired. Several witnesses told police they saw an individual on the eighth floor of the parking garage armed with two handguns.

"He fired a couple indiscriminate shots in the air" before turning a gun on himself, Duhamell said.

The man was identified only as a white male in his late 40s or early 50s.

Neighboring businesses were locked down as a precaution, he said, after initial reports indicated there were two shooters. A police sharpshooter had his rifle trained on the parking garage roof until investigators determined the gunman was acting alone.

Meridian Street was closed between Washington and Maryland streets while crime scene investigators worked.

Attorneys at Barnes & Thornburg were huddled in their offices at 11 S. Meridian as police tried to sort out the situation. Though attorneys didn’t know what was happening outside, they were told not to go outside and to stay away from the external walls – which were penetrated by two bullets, according to partner Don Knebel.

Knebel told Indiana Lawyer that the firm decided about 3:30 p.m. to send an e-mail alerting employees about the situation, and that they should move to the center of the building. Knebel was inside a conference room with about nine other attorneys, who were receiving news updates from their BlackBerries.

Indiana Supreme Court public information officer Kathryn Dolan, who has an office in the 30 S. Meridian building across from the parking garage, said several people in the Division of State Court Administration heard the gunshots and saw the man shoot himself and then fall from the garage.

Police told them they couldn’t enter the garage for a few hours and were being kept from leaving the building onto South Meridian. Court employees were told they could leave early through another exit, and the division would them connect with counseling if they needed it, Dolan said.

“It’s been a difficult afternoon,” she said.
 

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