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Del. courthouse gunman was ex-father-in-law

WILMINGTON, Del. — A 68-year-old man whose son was engaged in a bitter custody battle was identified Tuesday as the gunman who opened fire in a Delaware courthouse lobby, killing his former daughter-in-law and another woman. The gunman also died after exchanging fire with officers.

Delaware State Police said Thomas Matusiewicz of Edcouch, Texas, shot Christine Belford, 39, and her friend Laura Mulford, 47, on Monday. Two police hit by gunfire were protected by their armored vests.

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Investigators were awaiting autopsy results Tuesday to determine whether Matusiewicz was killed by police or shot himself with his .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun.

State Police homicide detectives continued interviewing witnesses, viewing surveillance videos, and collecting evidence at the New Castle County Courthouse, which remained closed.

Authorities said Belford and Mulford, both from Newark, Del., were at the courthouse to attend a child support arrears hearing for Belford’s former husband, David Matusiewicz.

State Police spokesman Sergeant Paul Shavack said Matusiewicz, 45, was being questioned and was in custody on a federal probation issue.

Matusiewicz appeared in court Tuesday afternoon for an initial appearance on the government’s request to revoke his probation following his 2009 guilty plea to federal fraud and kidnapping charges. Matusiewicz was led into court wearing an orange prison jumpsuit with his hands cuffed behind his back.

Federal prosecutors say Matusiewicz sought permission on Jan. 8 to travel from Texas to Delaware and told officials he would be staying with an uncle in Bayville, N.J., but that he spent Sunday night, the night before the shooting, at a home in Elkton, Md.

Prosecutors also say Matusiewicz is behind on child support payments of $2,200 a month.

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