updated 7/11/2006 4:29:13 PM ET 2006-07-11T20:29:13

The county sheriff has apologized for what he called an "embarrassing and egregious" security breakdown after court security workers missed a knife later allegedly thrown at a judge in a courtroom.

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Terry Lee Rehm, 58, was arrested Thursday after authorities said he threw a 13-inch butcher knife at Judge Michael J. Brillhart, who was seated on the bench. The knife went over the heads of several county employees and a defendant and sank into a wall to the judge's left, authorities said. No one was injured.

Also found on Rehm after he was taken into custody were a 4-inch knife, a 3-pound hand-held sledgehammer and a utility knife with a blade, officials said.

York Sheriff Bill Hose said Saturday that his deputies should have taken further steps after the man handed them a barbecue fork at the county courthouse Thursday rather than letting him pass inside.

"Simply put, we screwed up," Hose said in a statement. "The deputy became transfixed or mesmerized on the one item as if he had tunnel vision. There is absolutely no excuse other than human failure."

The deputy, who was not named, never asked to see all of the contents of the briefcase, and no one waved a security wand over the man, even though the metal detector had beeped, Hose said.

Hose called the matter "an extreme breakdown in our security measures" and apologized, saying it was "one of the most embarrassing and egregious events" he had ever had to deal with. He said he had disciplined the two deputies but declined to say what was done.

The sheriff did promise tighter security, without providing specifics, although he said people have complained about stringent measures. "They're going to find out what obtrusive is," he said. "In God we trust, and anybody else we don't."

Rehm has been charged with aggravated assault, reckless endangering another person, and possession of a firearm or other dangerous weapon in a court facility. He was taken to York County Prison in lieu of $50,000 bail. It was not immediately clear whether he had an attorney.

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