A member of a right-wing anti-government movement died in a frenetic exchange of gunfire with deputies outside a Georgia courthouse this afternoon, potentially preventing a killing spree, and it was all caught on amateur video.
That video, where the huge volume of gunfire can be heard and the perpetrator's red smoke grenades fill the middle of the frame, is above. Full story via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Dennis Marx, 48, was part of an anti-government group that has been tied to violent attacks on law enforcement around the country, said Forsyth County Sheriff Duane Piper. Marx spelled out his problems with the agency in a lawsuit obtained by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and he was due in court Friday for a hearing on drug and weapons charges, official said.
Instead, they say Marx, armed with multiple explosives and lots of ammunition - and possibly wearing a bulletproof vest and gas mask - drove his SUV up to the courthouse. He threw out homemade smoke grenades, pepper spray grenades and spike sticks in an effort to keep law enforcement personnel from stopping his approach to the courthouse.
After driving straight up the walkway near the courthouse steps, Marx shot at a deputy through his windshield, hitting the officer in the leg, then reportedly got out of the vehicle and started firing shots with a rifle. That officer and his colleagues returned fire with impunity, killing Marx—who called himself "a professionally trained, certified Glock armorer"—on the spot.
Marx's court filings exhibit hallmarks of the sovereign citizen movement, whose members "believe that virtually all existing government in the United States is illegitimate and [who] seek to 'restore' an idealized, minimalist government that never actually existed," according to the Anti-Defamation League.
In addition to weird theories involving the races, gold, Social Security numbers, numerology and nonsense languages, sovereign citizens generally hold that existing laws are forms of thought control that they can destroy in part by clogging the courts with tons of bizarre filings and lawsuits.
But in recent years, they've resorted to violent tactics, as well. That was Marx's apparent aim Friday:
"It would be a guess to think how many lives he (the deputy) saved had he not engaged him right there," Piper said. "Mr. Marx's intention was to get inside that front door and to take hostages.
"He had been planning it for a while," the sheriff added.