WATERBURY, Conn. -- A mother and daughter tried to sneak a clip loaded with .40-caliber handgun bullets to a prisoner being held at the lockup in Waterbury Superior Court yesterday, state police said.
Lynda Schoon-Lang, 60, and her 28-year-old daughter, Zsakieta, hid the clip in a pair of sneakers they were bringing to the courthouse along with a change of clothing for a prisoner, said Sergeant J. Paul Vance, a state police spokesman.
Marshals discovered the ammunition when the pair tried to pass through the courthouse security checkpoint near 10 a.m. The courthouse was evacuated and reopened about two hours later after a search did not turn up a gun.
Investigators would not say whether they believe the women were trying to mimic the recent case in Atlanta in which a prisoner grabbed a gun from a courtroom deputy, then allegedly killed a judge and three other people.
''If someone gets in there and shoots somebody, it doesn't matter if it's a copycat," said said Christopher Morano, chief state's attorney.
Morano said he was stunned anyone would try to bring bullets into a courthouse with security so tight following the Atlanta shooting.
Family members said Lynda Schoon-Lang did not know the clip was in the box of belongings she had brought to court. They said the clip belonged to another relative of the prisoner.
Witnesses at the courthouse also said Schoon-Lang said she did not know she'd carried the clip in with her.
The women were charged with conveying contraband to a prisoner, aiding and conspiring to transfer a weapon into a court or correctional facility, and breach of peace.
They were each held in lieu of $250,000 bond.
Waterbury State's Attorney John Connelly said the women were bringing the clothes for a defendant in a sexual assault case. The defendant, whom prosecutors did not identify, was being held on bail in that case and has a history of violent crimes, including robbery and assault.
''This is very rare," Vance said. ''Entering any building, you are subject to monitoring and search. Judicial marshals are very thorough in doing that work."
People in the courthouse yesterday called the incident unsettling.
''Everybody was nervous, scared," said Amy Gilbar. ''Nobody knew what was going on. All we knew was there was a security breach."