Courthouse calm, quiet a week after gunman’s deadly rampage

One week after a deadly shooting left a 79-year-old Deweyville resident dead and three others injured, life is slowly getting back to normal at the Jefferson County Courthouse.

“It’s been good, pretty quiet though; there’s a somber mood around here since it opened back up,” said Jefferson County Sheriff Mitch Woods on Tuesday afternoon, March 20, as he was walking through the courthouse. “That’s to be expected, and there’s probably still some anxiety, but it’s finally getting back to normal.”

The courthouse was closed last Thursday after one of the most brazen attacks in county history saw 41-year-old Bartholomew Granger shoot and kill Minnie Seabolt, 79, after he shot both his ex-wife and his 20-year-old daughter, who he also ran over with the 2001 GMC pickup truck he was driving.

Granger remains in the Jefferson County Correctional Facility on two bonds totaling $4 million. Those bonds are for murder and aggravated sexual assault, said Woods. Granger was on trial last week for the aggravated sexual assault charge that alleges he sexually assaulted his daughter, Samantha Jackson, who is mentally handicapped, and law enforcement officials said he tried to get into the courthouse on at least two different occasions last Wednesday morning.

Woods said he’s very proud of the job the courthouse security did in preventing Granger from entering the building. “That whole incident proved the value of perimeter security, and the system we have in place is doing a good job,” said Woods.

The veteran lawman said the investigation remains ongoing and that additional charges are possible. Woods added that there are indications Granger wanted to do some serious damage and he had “specific targets in mind and people he was after.” There are still some loose ends to tie up, including sorting through witness statements and any interviews that have not been completed, before the case is handed over the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office.

While Granger’s daughter remains in the hospital in critical condition, Woods said he’s proud of those who acted so bravely last week to prevent a chaotic and dangerous situation from spiraling further out of control and claiming more innocent victims.

“I can’t say enough to all those that responded,” Woods said, pointing out all the bailiffs, deputies, courthouse security and Beaumont police officers who were also outside during a shift change. In all, seven Beaumont officers and two Jefferson County sheriff’s deputies exchanged gunfire with Granger.

“These were people willing to put themselves in harm’s way.”