In Jeff Mitchell’s 12 years as a public defender, he’s seen courtroom outbursts and inmate scuffles. But never could he have prepared himself for what happened in court last week, when — in a routine morning calendar — he had to knock his client with several blows to stop him from grabbing the bailiff’s gun.

Mitchell, Deputy DA Robert Waner, the probation officer and two bailiffs struggled with 44-year-old defendant Martin Hirtz in a bloody brawl, a highly unusual event in semi-rural Sonoma County, Calif. In the end, a third bailiff and her taser took Hirtz down.