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North Carolina officer opens fire in courtroom after defendant allegedly attacks people

One person is in critical condition after officials said a defendant tried to attack others in the courtroom Thursday.

A officer opened fire Thursday in a North Carolina courtroom where a defendant is alleged to have attacked people, officials said.

The shooting occurred after someone lashed out in the Person County Courthouse in Roxboro, about 55 miles northwest of Raleigh, according to a joint statement from the Person County Sheriff's Office and the Roxboro Police Department.

"According to officials, it appears a defendant on trial attempted to attack people inside the courtroom, including the bailiff," the statement said.

One person, who was not identified, was in critical condition. Neither the officer nor the defendant were identified Thursday.

"Our hearts and prayers go out to everyone involved," Roxboro Police Chief David Hess said. "We would ask the community to please be patient during this process."

The State Bureau of Investigation is handling the inquiry with the Person County District Attorney's Office. The bureau did not immediately respond to a phone call requesting more information.

The courthouse issued an advisory that it was closed for the rest of Thursday's business hours.