Jackson County sheriff identifies man shot by deputy at courthouse, says he had 4 loaded magazines

The deputy who shot Swearengin is on paid administrative leave until Monday, which the sheriff’s office said is standard procedure.

Posted: Sep 19, 2019 10:25 AM
Updated: Sep 19, 2019 11:56 AM

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office has identified the man shot by a deputy Wednesday.

Fred Swearengin, 72, is the man a deputy shot at the Jackson County Courthouse. The sheriff’s office said Swearengin was shot after trying to enter the courthouse with a gun and drawing that gun after exchanging words with a deputy.

The office said Swearengin came in to the courthouse Wednesday armed with a handgun and four fully loaded magazines in his pocket.

The deputy who shot Swearengin is on paid administrative leave until Monday, which the sheriff’s office said is standard procedure.

Stay with WAAY 31 on air and WAAYTV.com online for updates to this story

From earlier:

The Alabama State Bureau of Investigation, or SBI, is investigating a shooting at the Jackson County Courthouse Wednesday morning after a deputy shot a man accused of trying to enter the courthouse with a gun.

SBI agents have not released the man's name as of Wednesday evening. The Jackson County Sheriff's Office said the man will be facing charges, however, it's unclear what those will be.

The man was taken into surgery at Huntsville Hospital after he was airlifted from the courthouse. No update on his condition was provided.

State Bureau of Investigation Agents exited the north side of the courthouse with bags of evidence Wednesday morning.

Sheriff Chuck Phillips said a man entered the courthouse this morning with a gun.

"He approached our security guards, showed him the gun, some words were exchanged, he drew his weapon, our security guard drew his weapon, and he was shot," Phillips said.

WAAY 31 watched as SBI agents combed through the suspect's truck on the south side of the courthouse for evidence, but they didn't remove anything. Inside the truck, WAAY 31 observed a fast food box, mail and cigarettes in the ash tray. Crime scene tape and a Jackson County Sheriff's deputy were guarding the truck until agents looked inside it.

Dean Guthrie, who has a business on the square in Scottsboro, said he looked outside his business after getting a call that a shooting happened just feet away at the courthouse.

"I came up by the door here and there were two or three police cars across the street over there and their blue lights were flashing, and I saw the fire and rescue truck was already out there. There were several officers standing up at the north side door," Guthrie said.

Another woman shared that she knows people who work inside the courthouse and said she knew it was a difficult morning for all of them.

"I pray for everyone at the courthouse that they are okay, and I'm sure they are, but I just pray for them and that they will overcome this and be okay," Diane Widgeon said.

The names of the deputy and the man who was shot have not been released. The sheriff's office said the deputy is on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure, but he could return to work as early as the end of the week.

The courthouse will reopen at 8 a.m. Thursday morning.

The State Bureau of Investigation has not released any more information about the shooting.

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