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Hero officer fights off shooter

By Walter Geiger news@barnesville.com The veteran Forsyth County deputy who thwarted a horrifying attack on the Cumming, Ga. courthouse June 6 has extensive local ties. Deputy James Daniel Rush was the first to confront 48-year-old Dennis Ronald Marx, a self-styled ‘˜Sovereign Citizen’ who launched what law enforcement officials called a ‘˜full frontal assault’ on the courthouse while court was in session. Marx drove a rented Nissan Armada up the courthouse steps, throwing stop sticks and homemade smoke bombs to thwart attempts to stop him. Deputy Rush, a 30-year veteran of the department, was working courthouse security and engaged Marx, firing on his vehicle. Marx fired back at Rush through his windshield with an AR-15 assault rifle. Rush was hit and suffered a broken tibia and fibula in one leg. Rush’s quick action delayed Marx’s attack just long enough for help to arrive. As it happened the Forsyth SWAT team was en route to another situation, diverted and arrived on the scene in 37 seconds. A total of nine deputies fired at Marx, who was clad in two bulletproof vests, and finally brought him down after a three-minute firefight. Forsyth sheriff Duane Piper praised Rush, noting Marx intended to shoot his way into the courtroom where he was to be sentenced on drug charges and take hostages. Rush grew up in this area. Chuck Bankston of Barnesville remembers Rush attending Barnesville Academy for awhile. Jody Alford, who grew up in Milner and is now a police officer at Gordon State College, was friends with Rush when the two attended the old Milner Middle School which is now St. George’s Episcopal School. ’He was a good guy. I kept up with him on Facebook. We were supposed to get together at the Atlanta NASCAR race in August. Hopefully, he’ll still be there,’ Alford said. Rush’s ex-wife told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution he grew up around Griffin, eventually graduating from Pike County High School in 1986. After the smoke cleared at the shooting scene, Rush was taken to North Fulton Hospital where he is recuperating. Before going in for surgery he updated his Facebook page noting, ‘I’ll be fine.’ Editor’s note: Our reporters were unable to find family members in the area by presstime Monday. Those with such information are asked to call 770.358.NEWS or e-mail news@barnesville.com.

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