MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — People who were in the line of fire during a shootout inside an Orange County courthouse say the actions of a few heroes may have prevented a bloodbath.

Asked if he felt like a hero, Middletown Commissioner of Public Works Jacob Tawil said, “No, no I just, I hope anybody would do the same thing.”

Not likely, since he looked the would-be killer in the eye Wednesday, saw the shotgun, and decided to give chase.

Tawil said he and his assistant spotted Tim Mulqueen marching towards City Hall with his gun and were startled by the sight.

“We had eye contact. Maybe it was the way I was dressed, maybe he thought I was a police officer, and that’s when he started running,” he said.

So the gunman, not realizing he was running from unarmed men, ducked into City Hall, running through a passage way to the adjoining City court, down a ramp and through a door where four court officers, who did have guns, were waiting.

Two blasts from the shotgun and four or five shots from two of the four court officers on duty happened soon after, ending in the gunman’s death.

“We’re sitting in here, it’s sounded like a file cabinet fell over, and people hollering about maybe a commotion upstairs” said secretary Bonnie Masci.

The other unarmed civilian who chased the gunman, Michael Maher, was too rattled to talk about it on camera. He too, said “hero” isn’t a label he’s interested in.

Orange County District Attorney Frank Phillips plans to present the shooting to a Grand Jury so the court officers were not free to talk Thursday. The mayor, who may have been the gunman’s target, said he personally thanked the unarmed civilians who took such a risk.

“I thank him for it. He did a very courageous thing. Some would say not very smart thing, but people do things, they react like human beings,” said Middletown Mayor Joseph DeStefano.

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