Gunman opens fire at Ohio judge, who takes out gun and fires back

Judge Joseph Bruzzese Jr is in stable condition. The suspected gunman is dead.

Emily Shugerman
New York
@eshugerman
Monday 21 August 2017 17:05
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Police officers stand on top of the Jefferson County courthouse in Steubenville, Ohio in this photo from 2008
Police officers stand on top of the Jefferson County courthouse in Steubenville, Ohio in this photo from 2008

A judge in Ohio returned fire at a man who "ambushed" him outside his courthouse, officials say. The judge was wounded, and the suspect killed, in an 8am shoot out.

Jefferson County Judge Joseph Bruzzese Jr was heading to work at a courthouse in Steubenville, Ohio, where he had worked for 20 years, when he was attacked by a lone gunman.

The 65-year-old judge was shot in the stomach and chest, and was rushed to the hospital via helicopter. Local reporters said he was taken into surgery and is in stable condition. Witnesses reported he was able to speak after being shot.

Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla said the suspect in Monday's shooting waited in a car outside the courthouse for almost an hour before Mr Bruzzese arrived. When he arrived, the suspect got out of the car and began shooting, walking toward Mr Bruzzese until he was nearly in point-blank range.

The sheriff said Mr Bruzzese returned fire. A nearby probation officer who witnessed the incident also began shooting at the suspect.

The suspect, who is not being named, was shot several times and killed. A second man who was in a car with him was taken into custody. He is not being treated as a suspect at this time.

"It just hurts," Mr Abdalla told reporters. "First thing on a Monday morning. You have a judge shot in front of his court house, and that affected me ... This was ambush and attempted murder."

Ohio Representative Bill Johnson said he was “saddened and alarmed” to hear about the shooting.

“From the shootings at the congressional baseball practise, to today’s tragic shooting, public officials are increasingly under assault,” he wrote on Facebook. “Public service shouldn’t be a dangerous occupation, but it all too often is. I’ll be praying for Judge Bruzzese’s recovery.”

Mr Bruzzese has served on the Jefferson County Common Pleas Court, hearing general and domestic relations cases, since 1997. He was re-elected in 2014 for another six-year term.

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