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The sheriff responsible for protecting the courthouse where a deadly shooting spree erupted in March wants to fire at least four deputies over security lapses, a union official said Wednesday. The deputies received letters from Sheriff Myron Freeman on Monday and Tuesday stating he planned to fire them. However, he offered them a chance to respond before taking final action, said Sgt. Charles Rambo, president of Local 453 of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers. None of the four could be immediately reached for comment. Rambo said there are other deputies who also could be fired or otherwise disciplined, but he only knew of letters received by union members. A spokeswoman for the sheriff’s department, Sgt. Nikita Hightower, declined to comment, citing confidential personnel matters and saying the officers were entitled to due process. Freeman and his department have been under pressure since the March 11 shootings at the Fulton County Courthouse. Rape defendant Brian Nichols is accused of grabbing a deputy’s gun and killing a judge, court reporter and sheriff’s deputy. He also is accused of killing a federal agent a few miles away before surrendering the following day in an Atlanta suburb. Courthouse security has since been tightened, and several investigations and security reviews have been launched. Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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