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Suspect Dead After Shooting Outside Of Buncombe County Courthouse

(3/31 2:45 p.m.)  Asheville police have identified the suspected shooter in this morning's shooting outside the Buncombe County courthouse as 29-year-old Shane Tilman Kent of Asheville.  Kent died at the scene after authorities say he fired shots at a law enforcement officer.

In a press release Asheville police say Kent was previously known to authorities, and fired a 9mm handgun from a Chevrolet SUV of which he was not the registered owner.  Once the shots were reported, deputies from within the county courthouse responded, after which Kent died.  One of those deputies, Lt. Dale Den Ouden, received a non-life threatening injury to his arm.  The 26-year veteran of the sheriff's office was treated and released from Mission Hospital.

(3/31 12:30 p.m.)  One person is dead following a shooting outside the Buncombe County courthouse Tuesday morning.

Buncombe County sheriff Quentin Miller says a probation officer spotted an individual shooting from a car outside the courthouse in downtown Asheville at 9:49 a.m.  Tuesday.  At a press briefing later Tuesday morning, Miller said sheriff's deputies, probation officers, and Asheville police officers responded and returned fire.  The person inside the car died.  A Buncombe County sheriff's deputy suffered non-life threatening injuries and was treated at Mission Hospital, though Miller did not say whether those injuries were gunshot wounds or something else.  No one else was injured.

No information on the suspect was given.  Asheville police are leading the investigation, and all further information will come from them.  Miller says authorities believe at this point the shooting was random, and that there is no further threat to the public.  The Buncombe County courthouse will remain closed for the rest of the day, and re-open on Wednesday, though under continued social distancing measures that have stopped non-essential work and cases due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available

Matt Bush joined Blue Ridge Public Radio as news director in August 2016. Excited at the opportunity the build up the news service for both stations as well as help launch BPR News, Matt made the jump to Western North Carolina from Washington D.C. For the 8 years prior to coming to Asheville, he worked at the NPR member station in the nation's capital as a reporter and anchor. Matt primarily covered the state of Maryland, including 6 years of covering the statehouse in Annapolis. Prior to that, he worked at WMAL in Washington and Metro Networks in Pittsburgh, the city he was born and raised in.