White House fence jumper killed by sheriff's deputy at courthouse

A man who scaled a wall of the White House 5 months ago was killed in a Pennsylvania courthouse on Tuesday after slashing a sheriff's deputy with a knife.

Curtis Smith, 33, entered the lobby of the Chester County Justice Center in West Chester shortly before noon, according to District Attorney Tom Hogan.

Gunshots rang out inside the courthouse at 201 W Market St. in West Chester, Pennsylvania around 11: 50 a.m. Tuesday after an armed man charged past metal detectors leading to a lockdown of the building.

"Curtis Smith, from Coatesville, came directly into the justice center and pulled out a knife and attacked a deputy sheriff, slashing him," District Attorney Tom Hogan said.

Another deputy then opened fire, striking Smith, said Hogan. Smith, 34, received first aid at the scene before being taken to Paoli Hospital, where doctors pronounced him dead.

A uniformed man with a bandaged hand could be seen on a stretcher being loaded into an ambulance. Hogan said that sheriff's deputy was treated for wounds to his arm and hand.

Luckily no one else was hurt.


"The sheriffs did their jobs, the lockdown went perfectly," said Hogan


Hogan identified Smith as the same man who allegedly jumped the outer perimeter of the White House back in March and was detained by Secret Service.

Smith was set to face burglary, assault and harassment charges at a preliminary hearing -- that has been continued multiple times -- in October stemming from a May domestic assault arrest, according to court records. He also pleaded guilty in late May to traffic violation.


Attorney Lewis Hannah III, who represented Smith in the domestic violence case, called his client's death "really tragic."

"He was a truck driver," Hannah said. "He worked every day, had a family, a wife, you know, you would have never have thought.


Hannah said his client was supposed to obtain counseling before the next hearing and that's why Smith went to the courthouse Tuesday. "He had no terrorist claim or anything like that," he said. 

Court staff heard at least three gunshots coming from the lobby, said Sara Finneran, a retired staff support employee who was visiting her former coworkers at the time of the shooting.