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Cook County shooting; Jailed suspect dies from 'flu-like symptoms'

DULUTH - Accused Cook County Courthouse gunman Daniel Schlienz died Tuesday morning in a Duluth hospital after being taken there Monday night for treatment of what the St. Louis County Sheriff's Department described as "flu-like symptoms."

Schlienz, who was in a highly supervised area of the St. Louis County jail in Duluth, first requested medical attention Monday morning, St. Louis County Sheriff Ross Litman said.

Schlienz, who is accused of shooting two people at the Cook County Courthouse on Dec. 15, died about 8 a.m. Tuesday.

Litman previously had told the News Tribune that medical attention was not provided to Schlienz on Sunday night because appropriate staff was not available.

According to the sheriff's office, Schlienz was first seen by a nurse from the Jail Health Services correctional staff about 11:15 a.m. Monday, about three hours after he requested it. He was treated at that time and assessed for flu-like symptoms, including fever, nausea, vomiting and body aches.

Schlienz was taken by ambulance to Essentia St. Mary's Medical Center about 7:45 p.m. Monday.

Schlienz's father, Gary Schlienz, said he was called at 3 a.m. Tuesday by someone from the hospital and was told to come because "your son is dying," Gary Schlienz told the News Tribune.

"He was already gone when we got there. They had him on life support," he said. "It was such a shock. ... He did not look like he was supposed to look. He was not Dan."

The St. Louis County Medical Examiner's Office conducted an autopsy Tuesday and ruled the cause and manner of death as "undetermined" pending additional lab tests, which could take several weeks to complete. Foul play is not suspected, Litman said.

There were no signs of any injury from someone else or self-inflicted. The investigation is pointing toward a physiological or medical condition and not a traumatic cause of death, Litman said on Tuesday.

Schlienz's death remains under investigation by the St. Louis County Sheriff's office.

Litman said he was not aware of any medical condition that Schlienz had before Monday.

Schlienz did not appear to be sick before the courthouse shooting on Dec. 15, said John Lillie, Schlienz's defense attorney in the criminal sexual conduct case that was tried in the Cook County courthouse that day.

"I didn't notice any kind of coughing or wheezing or anything like that. Maybe a runny nose or a cold, but certainly nothing serious that stuck out during the trial," Lillie said.

Palmer Berglund, who is married to Schlienz's mother, Ginger Berglund, said Schlienz was "coughing terribly" Monday.

"He was very sick yesterday afternoon," Berglund said on Tuesday.

Ginger Berglund declined to comment Tuesday.

Litman said only two inmates in his nine years as sheriff had died of a medical condition in a hospital, and only one other died of a medical condition while incarcerated at the Haines Road jail since it opened in 1995.

Litman noted that Schlienz had been taken to the Cook County Hospital in Grand Marais after the Dec. 15 courthouse shooting and was not treated for anything serious at that time.

Cook County Sheriff Mark Falk declined to comment on Schlienz's death Tuesday morning.

Lillie, who intervened to help victims of the shooting after having defended Schlienz in the earlier court case, said the death adds more sorrow to an already traumatic series of events.

Schlienz was being held in the Duluth jail pending $2 million in bail for the Dec. 15 courthouse shooting of two people in Grand Marais.

Schlienz was charged Dec. 19 in state district court in Duluth with two counts of attempted first-degree premeditated murder for the courthouse shootings of Cook County Attorney Tim Scannell, 45, and Grand Marais resident Gregory Thompson, 53. The charges could have brought sentences of between three and 20 years under state guidelines if Schlienz had been found guilty.

Schlienz's next court appearance had been scheduled for Jan. 10. Schlienz also had been charged with assault in the fourth degree for attacking Cook County bailiff Gary Radloff, possession of a weapon by a felon and obstructing arrest.

Hollingsworth and Myers write for the Duluth News Tribune. The Pioneer and News Tribune are both Forum Communications Co. newspapers.