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Police: Washington state suspect who stabbed judge, shot deputy still at large

Police from Grays Harbor County and Montesano, Wash., discuss the moments leading up to attacks on two people inside a Washington state courthouse and the subsequent search.

Updated at 8:46 p.m. ET: A man who stabbed a judge and shot a sheriff's deputy in a western Washington courthouse remained at large Friday afternoon after authorities determined that a man who was taken into custody afterward wasn't the suspect.

"So far, we have not positively identified anyone" in the incident, which happened about noon local time (3 p.m. ET) at the Grays Harbor County Courthouse in Montesano, a town of 4,000 people 100 miles southwest of Seattle, Grays Harbor County Undersheriff Rick Scott told reporters, adding: "We do not have a suspect in custody."

About an hour after the attack, authorities converged with weapons drawn on a house in Montesano where they believed a suspect, whom they initially identified as Michael Thomas, was holed up. They threw a gas canister toward the house and then advanced on it.

At about the same time, the Washington State Patrol told NBC station KING-TV of Seattle that Michael Thomas had been taken into custody on unrelated charges in the city of Tumwater, about 40 miles away.


Scott told reporters that the man arrested in Tumwater wasn't the gunman, who he said remained at large. It appeared that no one was in the Montesano house, which is owned by an older couple who police said weren't believed to have been involved in the courthouse incident.

Scott said the gunman shot Grays Harbor County sheriff's Deputy Polly Davin and stabbed Superior Court Judge Dave Edwards in the neck after he tried to come to the deputy's assistance. They were treated at Grays Harbor Community Hospital and released late Friday afternoon.

The gunman escaped with the deputy's .45-caliber handgun, Scott said. He was described as a slender white man with light brown hair, 5 feet, 10 inches to 6 feet tall, wearing a blue dress shirt and black slacks and possibly carrying a black briefcase. He was last seen on foot south of the courthouse, Scott said.

Edwards joined a lawsuit last year against Grays Harbor County over budget cuts to the court system, NBC's Northwest Cable News reported.

Among the demands in the suit — which seeks to restore budget cuts and stop what it claims is interference in court operations by the county Board of Commissioners — are that the county bolster security at the courthouse.

Michelle Acevedo of NBC News and NBC station KING5 of Seattle contributed to this report by M. Alex Johnson of msnbc.com. Follow M. Alex Johnson on Twitter and Facebook.

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