Brunswick police Chief Tobe Green, who was at the scene, said a man had suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
As detectives collected evidence from a red compact car parked beside the jail about 2:15 p.m., Green said, “At this point, he’s still alive.
The victim was taken away by ambulance, but Lt. Kevin Jones said later he had died.
Jones said the man was 49 or 50, and he declined to release his name until his next of kin had been notified.
The man shot himself in the front passenger seat of the car about 1:55 p.m., Jones said.
“There was actually a driver in the car,’’ whom Jones described as a woman who had been the man’s companion for about 20 years.
Jones said he did not believe they were married.
Sheriff Neal Jump, whose office provides security at the courthouse, said the man never attempted to enter the courthouse with a weapon.
“No one at the courthouse was ever threatened by a weapon,” Jump said. “He never went in the courthouse. He got to the front desk, turned around and left.”
Jump said his deputies reacted immediately upon hearing a city police officer’s radio call of shots fired.
His officers provided assistance and secured the area, Jump said.
“It’s very sad when something like this occurs,’’ Jump said.
Jones said Brunswick police are still investigating.