Posted on January 31, 2013 at 9:38 AM
Updated yesterday at 2:47 PM
Kaufman County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Pat Laney said the suspects ambushed the assistant DA on his way in to court and shot him multiple times in a parking lot at about 8:50 a.m. They then fled the scene. The courthouse was locked down and later closed for the day.
Hasse, a longtime prosecutor for the Dallas County District Attorney's Office and current assistant DA for Kaufman County, is the man who was shot and killed, the Sheriff's Office confirmed. He was a felony prosecutor who headed murder and drug cases.
Hasse joined the Kaufman County District Attorney's Office in July 2010, records show.
"Mark was really a great guy, he was the consummate prosecutor, he was hard-working, loved his job, and juries loved him for some reason," said Dallas attorney Ted Steinke, who oversaw Hasse in the Dallas County DA's Office. "He wasn't very large in stature, but juries loved him and he exuded confidence."
Kaufman County Judge Bruce Wood told WFAA's Jonathan Betz that he was not working on any high-profile cases that required any extra security. Investigators are following up on his caseload, however.
However, hours after Hasse was gunned down, the Department of Justice issued a release on its website crediting the Kaufman County District Attorney's Office with helping investigate two known members of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas gang. They pled guilty the day of the shooting to racketeering charges.
Before the release was issued, The Dallas Morning News credited "authorities with knowledge of the assistant DA's caseload" as saying he was "heavily involved" in an investigation of the Aryan Brotherhood. According to the release, Ben Christian Dillon, aka "Tuff", of Houston, and James Marshall Meldrum, aka "Dirty", both "agreed to commit multiple acts of murder, robbery, arson, kidnapping and narcotics tracking" for the Aryan Brotherhood.
Meldrum is from Dallas, the feds say.
Earlier, Wood classified Hasse's shooting as an "ambush" and told Betz that courthouse security is always tight, but not in the parking lot.
"It's a scary deal," Steinke said. "Every prosecutor every once in a while gets a death threat, and we take them seriously, but this is the first time in 20 years that I can remember here in North Texas a prosecutor actually being assaulted."
During a press conference, Sheriff David Burns and Police Chief Chris Aulbaugh said Hasse was heading to misdemeanor court when he was assaulted and gunned down.
"When you get up into the level, you are really attacking society as a whole because our whole society is based on our criminal justice system and getting our day in court," Burns said. "
Judge stabbed, deputy shot at Washington state courthouse (Public School Lockdowns Follow)
(Reuters) – A knife-wielding attacker stabbed a judge and shot a sheriff’s deputy with the officer’s own gun in a county courthouse in Washington state on Friday, prompting a lockdown of schools and government buildings as police and SWAT teams searched for the attacker.
The assailant, described as relatively well dressed and carrying a briefcase, confronted the deputy inside the main entrance of the Grays Harbor County Courthouse in Montesano, County Undersheriff Rick Scott told a news conference.
The suspect stabbed the deputy, then grabbed her gun and shot her, Scott said.
The judge, who saw the commotion from the third floor of the courthouse and ran down to intervene, was stabbed in the neck and torso during the altercation, Scott said.
Both Superior Court Judge Dave Edwards and Deputy Polly Davin were taken to Grays Harbor Community Hospital in nearby Aberdeen, where they were released after several hours of treatment, hospital spokesman David Quigg said.
Edwards, a former prosecuting attorney appointed to the bench in 2007, was part of a lawsuit filed by the Superior Court against the county in December that alleged poor courthouse security due to inadequate funding.
The lawsuit said that over the past two years, attorneys were physically assaulted at court, a defendant charged at a judge and a man came to the courthouse armed with a knife.
“Anyone can enter the courthouse carrying weapons,” the lawsuit said of the courthouse.
Scott said the courthouse lacks metal detectors.
“We just had a discussion about courthouse security less than a week ago,” Scott said. “The need for that is certainly illustrated by what happened here today.”
SUSPECT REMAINS AT LARGE
Authorities searched a wide area for the suspect, identified as Michael Thomas, but had not arrested him as of late afternoon.
Another man also identified as Michael Thomas was taken into custody on an unrelated warrant at mid-afternoon in the community of Tumwater, some 40 miles away, a spokeswoman for the Tumwater Police Department said.
Authorities later said he was not the gunman and only shared the same name as the suspect.
“The man in custody is not the alleged shooter,” Scott said.
The gunman was described as being in his early 20s and possibly armed with a handgun and a knife. Scott said it was not clear what business he had at the courthouse.
A Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s spokesman said that government buildings in Montesano, a community of about 4,000 people, had been temporarily placed on lockdown following the incident. A Montesano School District spokeswoman said schools had also been placed on lockdown.
Josh Bachtell, the owner of Savory Faire bakery in Montesano, said he had locked the doors of his business after the husband of one of his employees said he had seen a gunman running from the courthouse.
“Right after it happened, he came in and told us there was an armed gunman on the loose, so we’ve locked the doors,” Bachtell said. “It looks like there’s still a lot of police activity out there.”
The courthouse assault came two days after a gunman fired a flurry of shots into the air and then traded gunfire with police outside a courthouse in Oklahoma on Wednesday, wounding a sheriff’s deputy and a bystander, Tulsa authorities said. http://deadlinelive.info/2012/03/10/judge-stabbed-deputy-shot-at-washington-state-courthouse-public-school-lockdowns-follow/