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MADISON COUNTY, Iowa – There was a security scare at an Iowa courthouse when a suspect pulled a gun in front of the judge at his sentencing hearing on a meth charge.

Cory Daugherty wasn't going to go down without a fight. Police say the 29-year-old had just been sentenced in Madison County court to 10 years in prison on a meth charge when he snapped as a deputy tried to take him into custody.

"He actually put a handcuff on one wrist, at which time Mr. Daugherty looked at him and said 'No, no, no. I'm armed,' and as he pulled away from the deputy, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a silver handgun. Mr. Daugherty turned then and started to run out of the courtroom," said Sheriff Craig Busch.

Police say Daughterty jumped down a flight of stairs and ran outside. After a short search, Busch spotted him walking down an alley.

"I was running through my mind, 'How can I approach him in my car, stop my car, put the car in park, get out, draw my weapon before he draws his weapon and starts shooting at me.' Finally, I just thought, 'Well, whatever's gonna happen is gonna happen," he said.

This time Daugherty gave up without a fight.

The sheriff searched Daugherty but didn't find a gun so he asked firefighters to spread out throughout the area. One firefighter looked inside a dumpster.

"One of the firemen raised the lid and there was the handgun laying right there on top of the trash. And with it was a .9 mm, both fully-loaded," said Busch.

Two guns, both loaded and brought into a courtroom. Judge Richard Clogg knows he could have been an easy target for Daughterty. Anyone in his courtroom could have been.

"Was he going to take hostages? Was he gonna shoot anybody and everybody? It really makes you think," said Clogg.

The courthouse does not have metal detectors or armed security. Judge Clogg says it needs both.

"I would like to at least have a deputy here. I think we're just asking for trouble," said Clogg.

The sheriff says he doesn't have the manpower or the budget to make that happen.

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