* Watch videos from the scene downtown.
* View our photo gallery of the scene.
* Wounded deputy hailed for actions.
* Suspect's home cleared after fear of booby traps.
* Authorities were familiar with gunman.
* Lawsuit sheds some insight into shooter.
* Officials were reviewing new state gun law.
* Motorist saw assault downtown.
* Downtown shut down after attack.
* Sheriff details response.
CUMMING — Lenny Washington had traveled into downtown Cumming on Friday morning via Pirkle Ferry Road when he saw the shooting at the Forsyth County Courthouse unfold.
“I was at the stoplight and was letting a lady cross in front of me,” he said. “She was walking toward the courthouse when I heard ‘pop-pop-pop.’”
Washington at first thought the noise was coming from the construction of the new county courthouse, which is across the street from the current structure, which dates to 1976.
“But then another round came and I said, ‘Oh no, that’s a gun.’ And then one of the construction guys screamed and told the lady to stop,” Washington said. “She stopped in her tracks. She was literally walking into the middle of it.
“She stopped, kind of turned around and then came back to the corner where I was. She still was standing there. She didn’t realize.”
It was at that point, Washington said, that he saw an armed man, later identified as 48-year-old Dennis Ronald Marx of Cumming.
“I saw the guy, he was shooting toward our area, toward everywhere,” Washington said. “There were two cops on the side. So I just told [the woman] run, run. She ran back across the street … I was just trying to get her out of the way.”
Washington did not know what type of weapon Marx had, but said the suspect was wearing some type of heavy vest and gear.
“The truck was on the sidewalk, the doors open, and he was engaging and starting to shoot kind of towards where me and the lady were,” Washington said.
“We heard more rounds. Then I moved back, and heard the barrage of bullets.”