MILWAUKEE -- 10 years ago it was chaos in one Milwaukee courtroom, as a deputy was shot, a jury was traumatized and a defendant was dead in the courtroom. Laron Ball tried to escape, after the jury found him guilty, and Thursday, May 31st, FOX6 News spoke with the Milwaukee police officer who saved the day.
It was a Wednesday morning in court 10 years ago, when a Milwaukee police detective relied on his training and instinct.
Al Morales, now a lieutenant, remembers the day he stood in court as 20-year-old Ball was found guilty of murder, and the chaotic events as Ball tried to escape.
Two sheriff's deputies and Morales struggled to restrain Ball, who was 5'9" and about 140 pounds.
"On that day, Laron Ball's will power and mental state of mind was much stronger than three adult men that were bigger than him," Morales said.
Ball disarmed one of the deputies and shot one of them in the leg.
"Everybody was a target if Laron Ball managed to get out of there," Morales said.
Morales said it was like an out-of-body experience, as he pulled out his gun and fired two shots at Ball - but it wasn't over.
"It was like he wasn't hit. He continued to fight," Morales said.
Morales cleared his gun and fired two more shots - this time in the head, and Ball was killed in the courtroom.
Morales says it changed his life forever.
"For a split second, you're thinking this is just a dream," Morales said.
Since the incident 10 years ago, there have been changes to security in Milwaukee County courtrooms. High-risk defendants are now cuffed and shackled when a verdict is read and deputies are given more protection in the courtroom.