February 13, 2013 9:19:20 AM
WILMINGTON, Del. -- A bitter custody battle that included an international kidnapping and prison sentences for a former optometrist and his mother ended in gunfire at a Delaware courthouse, with the doctor's father killing his former daughter-in-law and another woman before fatally shooting himself, authorities said Tuesday.
Delaware State Police said Thomas Matusiewicz, 68, walked into the lobby of the New Castle County Courthouse on Monday, pulled out a .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol and shot Christine Belford, a 39-year-old mother, and her friend Laura Mulford, 47. He then exchanged fire with police, striking two officers who were protected by armored vests.
Authorities were working Tuesday to understand how the killings were planned, questioning former optometrist and convicted kidnapper David Matusiewicz (muh-TOO'-suh-wits) about his father and searching the older man's home in Edcouch, Texas. The yard of the small single-story home was filled with a crime scene investigation truck and unmarked grey pickup trucks commonly driven by federal agents.
Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevino said Texas authorities were searching the premises on a request from Delaware law enforcement officials.
Belford and Mulford, both from Newark, were at the county courthouse on Monday to attend a child support arrears hearing.