A lawyer was wounded in a courthouse shooting that was captured by television crews gathered to cover a hearing in the murder case against Hollywood actor Robert Blake.
Los Angeles Police said Jerry Curry was shot on a walkway outside the Van Nuys courthouse yesterday by a man who was upset that the lawyer was being paid from his trust fund.
Dramatic television footage showed Mr Curry, 53, hiding behind a tree as 60-year-old William Striler fired a revolver at him several times.
“At first I thought it was a joke because there was no smoke,” said Steve Grayson, a still photographer. “But the shots were really, really loud. It was very scary.”
Mr Curry staggered from behind the tree, bleeding from the face, and held up his hands before collapsing in the street.
The gunman then calmly walked by stunned reporters before an off-duty sheriff’s reserve officer tackled him.
Striler was arrested for investigation of assault with a deadly weapon, Los Angeles police Captain Jim Miller said.
Mr Curry was in a good condition in hospital, Capt Miller said. The lawyer was hit several times in the upper body but was protected from more severe injuries by the tree, he said.
Police said Striler apparently was upset when he learned that Mr Curry and a trustee were getting paid from a trust fund they had been appointed to manage. The fund had been established with money Striler received in an injury settlement.
The trustee was in court yesterday before the shooting to request his removal from the case. Police found two revolvers on the suspect, Capt Miller said.
Police said the attack was not connected to the Blake hearing, which ended a short time after the shooting. Blake had been escorted down the same walkway 30 minutes before the shooting.
Blake, 69, star of the Baretta TV show, is awaiting trial on charges of murdering Bonny Lee Bakley, whom he married after tests showed he was the father of her daughter.
Ms Bakley, 44, was shot and killed outside a Los Angeles restaurant where she and Blake had dined on May 4, 2001. The actor was charged with murder a year later.
Yesterday a conspiracy charge against the actor’s handyman Earle Caldwell was dismissed because of a lack of evidence, but Superior Court Judge Darlene Schempp allowed the murder charge against Blake to stand. Blake’s trial was set for February 9.