MILAN — A man on trial for fraudulent bankruptcy opened fire in Milan's courthouse Thursday, killing his lawyer, a co-defendant and a judge before being captured as he tried to flee on a motorbike, officials said.
As the shots rang out, court employees barricaded themselves inside their offices and took cover under their desks as police hunted for the gunman in the fortress-like courthouse. Eventually, the employees trickled out, women first, followed by the men who had their court ID cards checked.
Prosecutor Edmondo Bruti Liberati said the gunman first fired on his lawyer and co-defendant, killing both and seriously injuring a second co-defendant.
Afterwards, he "walked through the building, going down a floor, and killed the judge," Bruti Liberati told The Associated Press. He said it wasn't clear whether there was any relationship between the gunman and the judge.
He identified the slain judge as Fernando Ciampi, who worked in the civil section of bankruptcy court. The ANSA news agency identified the gunman as Claudio Giardiello.
Bruti Liberati said the gunman was on trial with two others for fraudulent bankruptcy.
Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said the suspect was caught by carabinieri police as he tried to leave the scene on a motorcycle.
The shooting immediately raised questions about how the man gained entrance to the Fascist-era courthouse, given visitors to the building must pass through metal detectors.
The courthouse has metal detectors at the four main entrances, but lawyers and courthouse employees with official IDs are regularly waved through without the additional security screen. Employees who trickled out after the shooting suggested that the gunman could easily have gained entrance without passing through the metal detector by entering with his lawyer.