Man attempts to take over Forsyth County Courthouse - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Man attempts to take over Forsyth County Courthouse

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Deputy James Daniel Rush Deputy James Daniel Rush
CUMMING, GA (CBS46) -

A man attempted to take over the Forsyth County courthouse Friday morning, according to Forsyth County Sheriff Duane Piper.

According to Piper, 48-year-old Dennis Marx attempted to drive a rented Nissan Armada into the courthouse at 9:57 a.m.

Police said Marx had buckets of homemade explosives and ammunition, in addition to smoke grenades, supplies and water.

"He came here with the purpose of occupying the courthouse," said Piper. "He came with everything he had with him, he came there with the specific purpose of killing as many people as he could."

Marx, who was wearing body armor, was due to appear in court Friday morning to enter a plea bargain for a trial that was set to begin Monday. Marx was to be tried on charges of possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute, which is a felony punishable with up to 10 years in prison.

Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Bagley said that Marx's attorney told the court he was ready to plead guilty, but was running late.

"He was headed our way that is for sure," Bagley said. Bagley was the judge presiding over Marx's case.

"If that shooter had gotten into the courthouse, I don't know it is only speculation, but he knew exactly where my courtroom was, and he knew exactly where my case was scheduled to be heard," Bagley said.

Piper said Forsyth deputy James Rush was doing a routine patrol of the courthouse grounds, which is something they do periodically throughout the day.  Piper said if Rush had not been outside when he was, things would have ended with a lot more bloodshed.

"He is a hero," Piper said.  "He kept Marx from going into the courthouse. Other deputies inside heard the shots and began breaking windows out of the bottom floors and firing at Marx's vehicle.

Rush was hit with a round from an AR-15 assault rifle and taken to a local hospital.  He underwent surgery and suffered two broken bones. Piper said his injuries are not life-threatening.

Piper described the attack on the court as a full frontal assault.

Marx was killed during the assault when eight total deputies shot at him. Police said he had explosives on his person. The bomb squad worked into late evening to make sure they would not detonate any bombs on Marx's body. Once the body was checked, it was taken to the GBI crime lab for an autopsy.

Investigators also found explosives in Marx's home. Piper said, initially they worried Marx had rigged the house to explode, but none were booby trapped.

Investigators said they will be at the home for most of the night after finding multiple explosives inside.

The shootout at the courthouse lasted roughly three minutes and was captured on courthouse surveillance cameras. Piper said Marx planned to take people inside hostage and was prepared to be at the court for a long time.

"He had water, and a lot of zip ties," Piper said. 

Within 30 seconds of the first shots fired, the Forsyth County SWAT team arrived to back up Rush. Piper said it was just good timing that they were in the area when the call came out, and good timing that Rush was doing his security sweep in front of the building.

"If that deputy hadn't been out there it could have been a lot worse," Piper said.

Stay with CBS46 and CBS46.com for the latest developments.

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