Julie Kocurek, a state district judge in Texas, was returning to her West Austin home on Friday night when shots rang out, seriously injuring her in her own driveway, theAustin American-Statesman reports.
The shooting was reported to the police at 10:16 p.m., and by 10:21 police were on the scene, according to Police Commander Mark Spangler. An air and ground search for the shooter ensued but no suspect was found.
Immediately, EMS rushed to the scene and began treating Kocurek.
“We are able to report that the victim is in stable condition, and this injury, though extremely serious, does not appear to be life-threatening at this time,” Spangler told the Austin American-Statesman.
The shooting occurred in a wealthy Austin neighbourhood, where houses go for $US1 million to $US2 million, the Statesman notes. As of right now, it is unclear why the Kocurek, and no one else in her company, was shot.
“Unfortunately this occurred during the darkness. We are working through a number of witnesses who will hopefully be able to give us additional details that will help us track down this person or persons who are responsible for the shooting,” Spangler told the Statesman.
Kocurek has presided over the 390th District Court since January 1999, when then-Governor George W. Bush appointed her, according to the Statesman. She has handled a number of high-profile cases during her lengthy career, and she has played an active role in the community, once co-chairing the National Campaign to Stop Violence and the Mother’s Milk Bank of Austin.
Authorities haven’t indicated if the shooting was related to any of her cases, or simply a random act of violence, but until last year, Kocurek was the administrative judge presiding over all criminal cases in the county, as the Statesman notes.
CNN notes that as recently as 2013, a state prosecutor was shot and killed outside of the Kaufman County courthouse in Texas, spurring on Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland to promise to hunt down the “scum” that killed his “stellar prosecutor,” who reportedly “had an absolute passion for putting away bad guys.”
Two months later, McLelland and his wife were found killed in their homes outside of Dallas.
Police would later convict Eric Williams, a former Kaufman County justice of the peace, for the murder of Cynthia, McLelland’s wife. Authorities in Kaufman County tied the murder to Williams’ “past legal problems with the criminal justice system of this county,” CNN Notes.
Violent behaviour towards judges and prosecutors is a disturbingly common trend, as 768 threats and inappropriate communications against the judiciary had to be assessed, mitigated and deterred by Marshals in 2014 alone, as CNN notes.
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