October 31, 2003

Man Shoots Lawyer As L.A. TV Crews Watch

An attorney was wounded Friday in a courthouse shooting that was captured by television crews gathered to cover a hearing in the murder case against actor Robert Blake.

Police said Jerry Curry was shot on a walkway outside the Van Nuys courthouse by a client who was upset about receiving less money than his sister in a probate case.

Dramatic television footage showed Curry, 53, of Simi Valley, hiding behind a tree as a man identified by police as William Striler fired a revolver at him several times.

"At first I thought it was a joke because there was no smoke," said Steve Grayson, a still photographer. "But the shots were really, really loud. It was very scary."

Curry staggered from behind the tree, bleeding from the face, and held up his hands before collapsing in the street.

Striler, a heavyset man with graying hair and glasses, calmly walked by stunned reporters before an off-duty sheriff's reserve officer tackled him.

Striler was arrested for investigation of assault with a deadly weapon, Los Angeles police Capt. Jim Miller said.

Curry was in good condition at Providence Holy Cross Hospital in Mission Hills, Miller said.

The shooting underscored the need for tighter security inside and outside the courthouse, said Allan Parachini, a Superior Court spokesman.

Police said the attack was not connected to the Blake hearing, which ended a short time after the shooting. Blake had been escorted down the same walkway 30 minutes before the shooting.

The lone conspiracy charge against the actor's handyman Earle Caldwell was dismissed because of a lack of evidence, but Superior Court Judge Darlene Schempp allowed the murder charge against Blake to stand. Blake's trial was set for Feb. 9.

Striler and his sister had appeared in probate court Friday morning to settle a money dispute, Los Angeles police spokesman James Chong said. The judge awarded Striler's sister more money than Striler in the case, Chong said.

Police found two revolvers on the suspect, but there was no indication he had taken the guns into the courthouse, Miller said.


AP Special Correspondent Linda Deutsch contributed to this story.