Fulton County, Ga., sheriff’s officials admitted yesterday that they knew Judge Rowland Barnes’ chambers were not secure before an escaped prisoner gunned him down in his own courtroom, says the Atlanta Journal-Constutution. Sheriff Myron Freeman, who is responsible for courthouse security, took little responsiblity for circumstances that led to the March 11 shooting spree that killed Barnes, his court reporter, and a sheriff’s deputy.
Although Freeman called his department’s response “exemplary,” Fulton County Commission Chairwoman Karen Hendel said, “I think I was most struck by what was not here. Clearly, there’s a lack of accountability. For this report to convey that nothing went wrong on March 11 is troubling. The same people overseeing courthouse security then are overseeing courthouse security now – and that’s disconcerting.” Criminologist Robert Friedmann of Georgia State University called the report “a play-by-play narrative. This is not really what helps us understand what procedures were followed, what procedures were not followed and how an incident like this would be prevented in the future.”