Municipal Court Judge Ronald Merriweather, who was in the adjoining courtroom at the time of the shooting, said security is "a constant concern of mine." He said the incident "freightened me. You hope it never happens, but today it did."
Acting Municipal Court President Judge Alan Silberstein said: "This is something that has plagued the court system for some time."
Silberstein said when he became acting president judge, he tried to get metal detectors installed in all courtrooms and have everyone searched, but so far has been able to get a detector in only one courtroom.
Courtroom observers said metal detectors have been used occasionally, as at the trials involving MOVE members and organized crime suspects.
"This," said Common Pleas President Judge Edward Bradley of the shooting, ''tells us what I've thought all along, that court security is inadequate. There is a complete lack of security."
Speaking of the metal detectors, Lt. Pete Ferrigno, of the Sheriff's Office, said, "We have them. We don't have the men to man them."
Assistant District Attorney John J. Doyle, who also was in a neighboring courtroom at the time of the shooting, said that he and fellow prosecutors often discuss courtroom security. "We often talk about it back in the office," he said.
"That is really a horrifying experience," added Doyle.
Even though he was concerned about the lack of courtroom security, Doyle said, "I don't think anybody really expected this to happen."
Doyle said he feels the incident would focus attention on the security problem, and possibly get results.
"Hopefully," said Doyle, "some good will come out of it."