AG: Deadly Force Justified in Delaware Courthouse Shooting - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

AG: Deadly Force Justified in Delaware Courthouse Shooting

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(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)
Thomas Matusiewicz Thomas Matusiewicz

DOVER, Del. (AP) - The Delaware attorney general's office says a police officer was justified in shooting at a man who killed two people at the New Castle County courthouse in February 2013.

In a report dated Dec. 29 but not released until Wednesday, former deputy attorney general Tim Mullaney said Capitol Police Cpl. Steven Rinehart was justified in using deadly force after Thomas Matusiewicz opened fire in the courthouse lobby.

Matusiewicz killed his former daughter-in-law, Christine Belford, and a friend of hers before shooting at police. Rinehart returned fire several times, hitting Matusiewicz in the chest. Matusiewicz then placed his gun in his mouth and fatally shot himself.

"During this exchange of gunfire, Corporal Rinehart was hit in the chest and it was at this time that Corporal Rinehart realized that this subject was trying to kill him and he was in fear for his life," the report reads.

Matusiewicz's widow and children face a March trial on federal charges of conspiracy and stalking of Belford. They could face life in prison if convicted of stalking that resulted in her death.

Prosecutors claim that David Matusiewicz conspired with his parents and sister, Amy Gonzalez, over several years to torment and stalk his ex-wife with the intent to injure, harass, intimidate and kill her.  Thomas Matusiewicz's family members have denied knowing that he intended to kill Belford.

David Matusiewicz pleaded guilty in 2009 to federal fraud and kidnapping charges after he and his mother took his daughters to Central America. Lenore Matusiewicz served more than a year in state prison for her role in the kidnapping. The Matusiewicz family has said it was trying to protect one of the daughters from being sexually abused by Belford, an assertion that a federal judge said at the time had not been proved.

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