A somber atmosphere dominated the Jefferson County Courthouse on Friday as employees returned to work for the first time following the Wednesday shooting.
As previously reported, 41-year-old Bartholomew Granger allegedly opened fire outside the courthouse at around 11:20 a.m. Wednesday. By noon, one person was dead, three others were injured and Granger himself was wounded and in police custody.
Authorities closed the courthouse following the shooting in order to conduct their investigation. Employees returned Friday.
"(A shooting) like that rocks your sense of security," District Clerk Lolita Ramos told the Southeast Texas Record during a Friday interview. "It's a somber atmosphere here today."
Ramos said a few of her clerks were now apprehensive about traversing the parking lot where the shootings took place.
However, she feels security inside the courthouse did their job and "kept (Granger) out" and that, in time, things would normalize again.
Port Arthur attorney Langstan Adams, who frequents the courthouse on a nearly daily basis, also said he feels like security inside the courthouse did their job.
But on the other hand, Adams raised questions about security outside the courthouse, noting that it's not uncommon for alleged victims to be in the parking lot at the same time as accused defendants out on bail.
"I don't have the answer, but it's something to think about," Adams said, adding that perhaps more security outside the courthouse is needed or that alleged victims should to be escorted to their vehicles by police.
As far as being able to return to the courthouse and work, Adams said he wasn't nervous at all, but would be more vigilant when walking across the parking lot from now on.
Adams was at the courthouse on the day of the shooting and saw the body of the deceased victim – a sight he says will stay with him forever.