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Deputy hailed for courthouse heroism
Actions credited with preventing tragedy at the courthouse
Bobby McLemore, president of the Georgia Sheriff’s Association, presented Forsyth County’s Daniel Rush the Deputy Sheriff of the Year Award for Valor during the association’s annual summer conference. Rush was shot in the leg while defending the courthouse from a gunman in June. - photo by For the FCN

BUFORD — A Forsyth County Sheriff’s deputy hailed for preventing a mass-shooting at the courthouse this spring has earned the highest honor awarded by the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association.

Deputy Daniel Rush accepted the Deputy Sheriff of the Year Award for Valor during the association’s annual summer conference Thursday night at Lake Lanier Islands Resort.

Forsyth Sheriff Duane Piper presented the award, which is given each year to recognize a deputy who demonstrated an act of “conspicuous heroism and bravery in the line of duty.”

Rush was shot in the leg by heavily armed Dennis Ronald Marx, a 48-year-old Cumming man who was attempting to shoot his way into the courthouse June 6.

Just before 10 a.m. that day, Marx drove a rented silver Nissan Armada onto the courthouse plaza and threw out spike strips to hold off law enforcement’s response before beginning what Piper described at the time as a “full frontal assault” on the facility.

According to the sheriff’s office, Marx had been scheduled to appear in court that morning to enter a guilty plea on drug and weapon charges from August 2011. Instead, he launched the attack.

Rush was on patrol outside of the courthouse when Marx pulled up. He approached and engaged Marx, who fired at him through the window of his sport utility vehicle.

A bullet shattered the leg of Rush, a 30-year veteran of the force, breaking it. He underwent surgery to repair the damage and his recovery is ongoing.

Due to his actions, Piper has credited him with saving many lives that day.

“The entire situation was solved by that deputy,” Piper has said of Rush’s actions, which allowed time for other deputies to arrive on the scene.

Shortly after Rush encountered Marx, the county’s SWAT team, which just happened to be nearby, and deputies from the jail and inside the courthouse joined the firefight.

Marx, who was wearing body armor and a gas mask, was stuck several times and died at the scene.

As Marx made his approach, he was throwing tear gas and smoke and pepper spray grenades.

Piper has made it clear that if Marx had made it inside the courthouse, many lives would have been lost.

“He came there with the purpose of occupying the courthouse,” Piper said.

“If not for the actions of the deputies that work in that courthouse, particularly [Rush], we would have had severe loss of life.”

Robin Regan, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office, said Piper again thanked Rush for this courageous act during the event Thursday.

Rush, who was joined at the event by many of his fellow deputies and the office’s command staff, extended his gratitude toward everyone who has supported him over the past seven weeks.

The Forsyth County community rallied around Rush, with many businesses and individuals holding fundraisers to help him with any expenses not covered by worker’s compensation.