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Forsyth Courthouse shooting suspect’s home cleared after fears of booby traps
Forsyth County Sheriff’s deputies blocked an area of Eagle Creek Trail east of Cumming on Friday afternoon in preparation for searching the nearby home of the courthouse shooting suspect Friday afternoon. - photo by Jim Dean


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CUMMING — As of late Friday, investigators with the Forsyth County Sheriff’s office, Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms remained at the house of Dennis Ronald Marx near Lake Lanier.

Hours earlier, Marx launched a one-man attack on the Forsyth County Courthouse in downtown Cumming. The assault ended when sheriff’s deputies shot and killed Marx.

Sheriff Duane Piper said authorities waited to enter Marx’s home on Lakeside Trail, which is not far from Bald Ridge Marina Road east of Cumming. When they did, they found “several explosive devices.”

“But the house was not booby trapped,” he said. “We are going to be there probably all night.”

He said both the courthouse and Marx’ home had been secured, however downtown Cumming would likely remain blocked to traffic until at least midnight.

According to the sheriff, authorities were wary of Marx’s home because they had found booby traps there when he was previously arrested on drug and weapons charges in August 2011.

“[Also] we are being very cautious because of the amount of explosives and pyrotechnics that he had on him during the assault,” Piper said.

Piper would not give much new information into the investigation, only saying only that authorities would be at the house for much of the night.

Marx had not been living in the house for the past 10 days, authorities said, and was instead staying at a nearby hotel in Cumming.

The streets in the neighborhood where Marx lived are steep, narrow and lined with modest homes nestled close together in a wooded area.

Neighbor Dorothy Varano said it's a calm and peaceful place to live where neighbors are friendly but don't involve themselves in each other's business.

Varano has lived just up the street from where Marx lived for the last 10 years. She said she had a run-in with him seven or eight years ago when she was walking her Maltese dog, Daisy, past his house and his dog attacked hers. His dog grabbed hers in its jaws and shook the Maltese back and forth. Marx told her his dog wasn't being aggressive and was just playing with her dog like a toy.

Her dog was badly injured and required expensive vet treatment, and she was surprised when he offered to pay her vet bill. He paid it, gave her a small electronic device that emits a sound that's supposed to stop an attacking dog and gave her a box of candy.

Still, she said she decided long ago that she would steer clear of Marx.

"I decided he was not a person I was going to cross in any way because he would probably slash my tires or put something in my gas tank," she said.


Staff writer Jennifer Sami and the Associated Press contributed to this report.