New security at Ark. courthouse where gunman hit

September 14, 2011 - 12:50 PM

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A day after a gunman stormed a historic Arkansas courthouse through an unsecured entrance, a local official says immediate security steps are being taken.

The Crawford County courthouse in rural Van Buren, near the Oklahoma border, has metal detectors only at the doors into its two courtrooms. Visitors could enter any of the building's six entrances without being checked for weapons.

The county's chief administrator says five entrances will be alarmed and locked when the courthouse reopens Thursday. Crawford County Judge John Hall also says he's asking for more sheriff's deputies to guard the one open entrance.

Authorities say James Ray Palmer walked into a judge's office Tuesday and shot and injured a receptionist.

The courthouse is believed to be the oldest active county courthouse west of the Mississippi River.