The man, named as Claudio Giardiello (pictured below), was later captured by police just outside Milan. The dead were named by the Italian media as bankruptcy judge Fernando Ciampi and lawyer Lorenzo Alberto Claris Appiani, both shot on the third floor of the building after Giardiello managed to get a gun past security.
A third person was found dead inside the building after apparently suffering a heart attack, possibly brought on by the shooting, emergency services said. Two people were injured in the shootout and one is in a serious condition.
‘A little paranoid’
Valerio Maraniello, who once acted as a lawyer for the shooter, said his ex-client was “an aggressive person, a little paranoid.”
“He was always convinced people were trying to cheat him. He never listened to advice,” he said, adding that he was “not completely surprised” by the deadly attack.
Interior Minister Angelino Alfano was called on to investigate security at the court.
‘Dazed and shocked’
The sound of shots sparked panic, with lawyers bolting for the exit, while police officers went floor to floor searching for the gunman who was initially thought to be still inside the building.
“All of a sudden we heard at least three or four shots,” lawyer Marcello Ilia said outside the court.
“There were suddenly lots of police officers who told us not to leave the room. They told us someone in a suit and tie was armed and at large in the court,” he said.
The Palace of Justice is in the historic centre of Milan, only a few streets away from the city’s cathedral and shopping district.
Judge Gherardo Colombo told journalists outside the court that he was “dazed and shocked” by the shootout. “I knew Judge Ciampi personally, it’s absurd that one can die like that, while you’re doing your job,” he said, suggesting “an anti-judiciary climate” may be to blame.