When a gunman ambushed a judge outside of an Ohio courthouse, Monday morning, the judge fired back despite being wounded.
Judge Joseph Bruzzese arrived to the Jefferson County Courthouse in Steubenville, Ohio, City Manager Jim Mavromatis told reporters. The gunman opened fire and Bruzzese, carrying his own weapon, returned fire. Officials estimate the shooter fired at least five shots at Bruzzese, who fired five shots back at the shooter until a court probation officer intervened and fatally shot the suspect. Bruzzese was wounded but coherent when he was airlifted to a Pittsburgh hospital for emergency surgery, and is now in stable condition.
A man who was sitting in the car with the shooter was briefly detained by police. The man told police the shooter said he was due to be in court today but that he didn’t know the man’s plans. Sheriff Fred Abdalla said police are familiar with the shooter, whose identity has not been released, the Herald-Star reports.
Abdalla also said he encouraged Bruzzese, an avid hunter and sportsman, to carry a gun years ago for protection.
“Every judge should be armed today in America. Prosecutors need to be armed. It was a cold-blooded attempted murder on a judge,” Abdalla said to the Herald-Star. “There are so many nuts running around seeking retaliation.”
At this time it is not known whether the shooter had ties to one of Bruzzese’s cases, and police say they are working to determine a motive. The shooter has a criminal record and his family is now being notified.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is leading the investigation, and reports say the city manager requested the FBI’s help to prosecute the second suspect.