WHEELING, W.Va. — A former Wheeling police officer fired up to 30 shots into the Wheeling Federal Courthouse Wednesday afternoon before he was shot and killed by police.

A witness told MetroNews the gunman used a rifle, reloading at least once, as he fired at the federal building around 2:45 p.m.

Multiple sources have identified the gunman who died after being shot by law enforcement officers as Thomas Piccard, 55, of Bridgeport, Ohio, a former Wheeling police officer left the department in 2000.

Bill Ihlenfeld, the U.S. Attorney for West Virginia’s Northern District, was in his office when the shooting occurred.

We were all working and heard gunshots outside the building,” Ihlenfeld told MetroNews. “Windows were struck. We have a plan within the office where everyone goes into a safe room away from the windows. We took those steps.”

On Wednesday evening, Ihlenfeld said three court security guards in the building were injured by flying glass.  The three were treated and released from Wheeling Hospital.

Eyewitness Carla Daniels, who was working in an office nearby, said she heard 25 to 30 shots fired by the gunman.

I saw a guy with a rifle and he was just pointing in toward the federal building and just shooting,” Daniels said. “After he fired so many shots, he reached down on the ground and he must have reloaded and he went back to shooting again.”

Ihlenfeld said the quick response by law enforcement made the difference in the incident.

“If it weren’t for the heroic efforts of the officers who confronted this gunman, it could have been a lot worse than it was,” he said.

Police gave no word on a motive. The investigation continued on Wednesday night with search warrants being obtained for the vehicle police believe Piccard drove to the scene as well as for his home in Ohio.

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  • Dave Miller

    The country needs more private sector job creation and less government involvement in every facet of our lives. The nanny state is creating a culture of dependence and dispair resulting the disillusioned lashing out

  • American Taliban

    All the love that this unhinged person is getting from right-wing "anti-government" types on here, all of the justifying of this man's actions, sounds a lot like the kind of celebratory chatter of those other fundamentalists after 9/11. You people deserve each other. I wish there was a way we could just fly all of you to the moon.

  • Larry

    If you wish to hear an excited black woman cursing, watch the video.

  • Frank

    Just another disturbed individual with a weapon. When will this country wake up?

  • Andi Nutter

    I can't believe all the idiot comments on here. As of last night no one knew a motive for the shooting! Who knows what made him tick! The sad fact is he was mentally unstable and he could of killed people if he hadn't been stopped! Not EVERYTHING is Obama's fault people! I love Wheeling. There are many good wholesome Americans living in this city and surrounding area. Kudos to the officer's who took quick action and stopped him from taking innocent lives!

    • Anthony


  • Canadian

    You yanks are the laughing stocks of the world WOW
    How the mighty have fallen


    • American

      Canadian, This is our 29th "shutdown". It's never a big deal unless our insane president wants to hurt his own people for political gain. We don't want government health care and we will do anything not to be like Canada. Obama and his entire party will be gone eventually. We will still be the great superpower, keeping you safe, but you will still be Canada.

  • dipsy

    Trusting your life on someone for the sheer fact that he has oratory skills? That's what con artists specialise in.....

  • daw

    I doubt most of the posters are from Wheeling.
    My husband is from Wheeling and we live quite close. I would like express my condolences to the shooter's family and thank fast acting police and security officers.Something went terribly wrong somewhere and no FACTS are out yet. May all involved find peace.

  • Shadow

    Has anyone been following the work of the National Park Police? From the way they have been acting, the only difference between them and Hitler's Nazi goons is the color of their shirts. Their actions has sickened me on their whole organization and I am sure there are still a lot of good folks in that organization that feel the same way.

    • jb

      Amazing isn't it. Standing outside the'hotel' that I stayed in 70 yrs ago WITH GUNS! Well, Obama said he wanted us to feel the pain but guess too stupid to realize he's hurting self & image of office of Pres. Acting like little BRAT cause not getting his way!

  • Larry

    I still can't understand why wvmetronews would post a video in which you can clearly hear an African-American woman saying "he was on that s**t.

  • Jeff c

    Just thank God none of our officers or innocent people died over this

  • Rev.

    Sounds like the ex-cop was just protecting and serving the heck out of the court house, now wasn't he? And remember boys and girls, the cops thats pulling you over could be the next one to snap.

    • jb

      You seem to have forgotten for second that this guy was not an active duty cop to pull anyone over & 2000 was what 13 yrs ago!!!!!!! HE had a problem. So little boys & girls follow rules of road AND find common sense. IF THERE IS ANY LEFT out there under fifty-size yrs of age. Seems to have been bred out!

    • chamuiel

      no lie!

  • Keith

    I am so sick of hearing all this left and right crap... We are Americans I dont care what party u are from or what u believe in we are Americans first... This country is in shambles and on the verge of collapsing unless something happens. The idiots in Washington (both parties) are more worried about themselves than the people who elected them. So maybe everyone should stop pointing fingers and calling the other side names and actually try to do something productive or maybe the American people (both parties) should stand together and make a statement that we r sick of being treated like crap! Just sayin

    • Outdoor Man

      Nice post Keith....agree 100%...I thought they were supposed to be working for us,not themselves.I say get it fixed or get the hell out!

  • amazed.citizen

    What's in the water in Wheeling?
    I can't believe the rants from people
    after a senseless death such as this.

    Hallucinogens in the water? the Air?
    What gives?

    • chamuiel

      ask obama?

  • chasmo

    Thank you POLICE for taking care of this scumbag !! Need more POLICE like this. GREATLY APPRECIATE what you did.

    • chamuiel

      so, you like gestapo jack booted thugs, little sheeple?

      • jb

        Being Army Brat & Army Widow. I'll stick with Army. Police seem to be letting badge to EGO! Power! Civilians pah!