June 06-- A man identified as a "sovereign citizen" assaulted the Forsyth County courthouse Friday, wounding a deputy before dying in a hail of bullets, officials said.
Dennis Marx 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. He was due in court Friday to plead out 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 and threw out "stop sticks" so no one could get to him. A deputy working the doorway of the courthouse confronted Marx, who shot the officer in the leg through the windshield of his vehicle. Witnesses said Marx jumped from the SUV and started shooting his rife. Officers returned fire and Marx was dead.
"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.
The deputy, a 25-year veteran of the sheriff's department, was taken to North Fulton Hospital and is expected to recover, officials said.
Police searched Marx's home for explosives after the incident. Sheriff's officials said it will be several hours before the scene of the shooting is clear.
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