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2 shot in Cook County Courthouse in Grand Marais; man says son, former pro boxer, is suspect in custody

Daniel Schlienz, shown here in his boxing days, is being held in Thursday's shootings. (2001 file / © News Tribune)

The Cook County Sheriff's Office has reported that two victims were hit by gunfire in the Grand Marais courthouse just after 4 p.m. today.

One victim was transported to Essentia Health St. Mary's Medical Center, one is hospitalized in the Cook County North Shore Hospital in Grand Marais and one victim was treated and released.

The victim taken to Essentia, Cook County Attorney Tim Scannell, was listed in stable condition as of 8 p.m.

One suspect is in custody. Cook County Sheriff Mark Falk said authorities are not seeking any other suspects.

Doug Neville, spokesman for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, said that the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has investigators on the way to Grand Marais to assist the Cook County Sheriff's investigators.

Neville said he didn't know the condition of the victims or where in the courthouse the shootings took place.

The shootings occurred between 4:15 and 4:30 p.m. in Grand Marais, sources are reporting. Court officials said Cook County Attorney Timothy Scannell is one of the shooting victims.

Gary Schlienz, of Grand Marais, told the News Tribune the suspect probably is his son, 42-year-old Daniel Schlienz, a former professional boxer in Duluth.

Daniel Schlienz was the defendant in a criminal sexual conduct case that was being heard in the Grand Marais courthouse today, according to court records.

Gary Schlienz told the News Tribune he went to the courthouse, where he was told this son was responsible for the shooting. He was told that two people were shot -- a bailiff in the arm, and a prosecuting attorney in the body.

"He hated the prosecuting attorney that did this," Schlienz told the News Tribune.

Gary Schlienz said his son's mother, Ginger Berglund, was in the court house during the shooting and tried to take the gun away from her son.

"He didn't think of anybody else at the time, I'm sure," Gary Schlienz said.

Schlienz said the prosecution of his son had taken a severe toll, with his son threatening suicide as recently as two weeks ago.

"I don't want to make excuses for him, but they prosecuted him pretty bad. He had no job, no money, nothing," Gary Schlienz said.

John Kostouros, communications director for the Minnesota Judicial Branch, said he was told that the shooting occurred after a guilty verdict was returned in a case presided over by 6th Judicial District Judge Mark Munger of Duluth. Kostouros said neither Munger nor courtroom staff were injured.

He said he was told the shooting took place near County Attorney Scannell's office. Scannell was listed on the court calendar as the prosecutor in the Schlienz case.

He said he was told that the shooting didn't occur in the courtroom.

Daniel Schlienz is a former boxer who in 2006 entered an Alford Plea on charges that he sexually assaulted two 15-year-old girls and one 17-year-old girl. In 2007 he moved to withdraw the plea, a motion that was initially denied by the sentencing court. The Court of Appeals in January ruled that his plea withdrawal should have been accepted and reversed his conviction, which paved the way for the trial.

Schlienz said he had no warnings that his son might harm others.

"I apologize to everybody for this and I wish to God it hadn't happened," Gary Schlienz said.

Schlienz said he didn't know how his son could obtain a gun. He said that when he initially pleaded guilty to criminal sexual conduct in 2006, he went to his son's home, took his guns, and put them in a safe in his home.

Schlienz said he checked the guns today, and none were taken.

The younger Schlienz had been a professional fighter for Chuck Horton in the early 2000s, Horton told the News Tribune. Horton said Schlienz was his first professional fighter, but he fired him over concerns that he had about how he treated women.

"My instincts said 'something's not right and I do not want him around any of the girls that I know,' " Horton said.

Horton said he was going to testify about Schlienz's behavior in the trial, but was called yesterday by the prosecuting attorney that his testimony was being blocked.

Copyright 2011 Duluth News Tribune