A gunman who spent years in court battles over child custody disputes opened fire Monday in the lobby of a Delaware courthouse, leaving two women dead before police fatally shot him, authorities said.

Wilmington, Delaware courthouse following a shooting (WPVI TV)

The unidentified shooter, a white male in his mid 50s was killed by police. State Police say this was not a random shooting.

"It's developed out of a long, over the course of many years, custody dispute in the courts of this state," said Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden.

Wilmington Mayor Dennis Williams  earlier said he was told the shooter shot and killed his wife and wounded two other people at approximately 8:10 a.m. Williams says the couple were estranged.


Delaware State Police will not confirm the identities of any of the deceased.

WCAU TV reports four nearby elementary schools are on lockdown. The station also reports police are investigating a near by multi-level parking garage.

Two Capital police officers exchanged fire with the shooter according to WPVI TV. It's not known how the gunman died; police say he did not get beyond the metal detector in the courthouse lobby. The Capital police officers sustained minor injuries.

Scene outside New Castle Courthouse following a shooting (WCAU TV)

Live TV footage shows a red tarp covering the area where the gunman is believed to have been shot dead. Hours after the shooting, there was still a heavy police presence around the courthouse and streets were blocked off.



WCAU TV reports police went floor-by-floor to make sure there are no other gunmen in the building and  are allowed employees who hid in offices and rooms to leave the courthouse.

A news release from the state court administrator said the county courthouse would be closed Tuesday for the investigation and repairs.

In a statement, Delaware Governor Jack Markell said "Our thoughts and prayers right now are with the victims of this senseless violence and the Capitol Police officers who put their lives on the line to protect the courts and public every day."

This is a breaking news story. Please check back in a moment as we work to update this story.

The Associated Press contributed to this story