More questions than answers in courthouse shooting

CourthouseWEST CHESTER — There are more questions than answers Wednesday as to why a Coatesville man allegedly attacked a Chester County Sheriff’s Deputy with a knife at the county Justice Center Tuesday just before midday — and was shot and killed by another deputy.

Curtis Smith, 34, entered the building a bit before noon Tuesday and allegedly attacked an unidentified deputy with a knife. The deputy suffered wounds to his hand and arm, but was listed in stable condition at an area hospital. Smith was reportedly hit with a single gunshot by another unidentified deputy and pronounced dead after being transported to Paoli Hospital.

This was not Smith’s first encounter with law enforcement; he was arrested in March by the Secret Service for allegedly jumping the fence at The White House.

A number of local residents who knew Smith, a member of the Coatesville Area High School Class of 2000, said they were shocked and saddened by the incident — and left confused as to what would have motivated him to take such actions.

The incident turned a quiet, sleepy Tuesday morning in the county seat into a tense situation, as the building went into full lockdown mode, as it was unclear, initially what the nature of the incident was. The Justice Center closed for the remainder of Tuesday.

The three Chester County Commissioners,Terence Farrell, Kathi Cozzone and Michelle Kichline, issued a statement late Tuesday thanking the building’s staff — and specifically the deputies — for moving quickly to secure the situation.

“Today’s incident at the Justice Center gave evidence to the need for tight security measures in buildings such as this.  For Chester County, these measures include a well-trained team of deputy sheriffs who monitor the security stations that are located in the lobby entrance of the building.  We commend the deputy sheriffs who took quick action in order to protect all visitors and employees. These actions limited the severity of the attack.  Our thoughts are with the injured deputy sheriff and his family.”

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