• A man on trial slashed his own throat right after receiving a guilty verdict in a North Dakota courtroom Monday
  • He was on trial for driving a jeep toward several children and nearly hitting them in April last year
  • Authorities said they are investigating what kind of weapon he used and how it got inside the courtroom

A man committed suicide Monday just moments after he was found guilty at a trial inside a North Dakota courtroom, authorities said.

Emergency crews responded at approximately 2 p.m. to reports of a man slashing his own throat inside the Fargo federal courtroom in front of the judge, courtroom staffers and other witnesses, WDAY reported. The incident took place as the man's guilty verdict was being read for his trial, the U.S. Marshals Service confirmed.

The man was identified as 55-year-old Jeffrey Ferris, Valley News Live reported. He was on trial for driving his SUV toward seven children and nearly running them over in April last year on the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation.

He was charged with assault with a deadly weapon, reckless endangerment, terrorizing and using a firearm in a violent felony after he allegedly attacked a person with a handgun as well.

A witness told WDAY that Ferris had stood up and started fidgeting with his neck in the courtroom. "His attorney asked him, 'What the hell are you doing?' And the guy turned around, and you could see the inside of his neck," the witness said.

"He had slit his neck with some object. There was blood all over the walls in the courtroom, and the Marshals had wrestled him to the floor. You could hear him screaming, 'I can't breathe,'" the source continued.

Ferris may have used a pen or a plastic shank, Valley News Live reported, citing a witness. However, the man's attorney "said it looked like a scalpel," according to the witness.

Prior to his self-inflicted death, Ferris allegedly asked the court for his release until sentencing but was found guilty and realized he would likely face several years in prison, a witness told WDAY. When his request was rejected, Ferris then asked to be released for 24 hours to take care of a child care situation, which the court denied as well.

It was unclear how the weapon used in the incident was brought inside the courtroom. The U.S. Marshals Service is tasked with checking visitors for any weapons.

The FBI is investigating the case to determine what kind of weapon Ferris used and how he got it past security. Agency spokesperson Kevin Smith described the incident as "very unusual."

"I can't remember the last time an event like this happened where somebody was able to smuggle in some contraband into a federal courtroom and die of a self-inflicted wound. Very, very, very odd," WDAY quoted Smith as saying. "We will take our time to get to the bottom of it."

Authorities said more information regarding the incident will be released Tuesday.

Representation. A witness said Ferris used an object that looked like a pen or a plastic shank to kill himself. Pixabay