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Manhunt For Gunmen as County Prosecutor Is Shot Dead in Courtroom Parking Lot

A Texas prosecutor who was heavily involved  in the investigation of members of the Aryan Brotherhood was shot dead on  Thursday morning as he walked from his car to his county courtroom  office.

Officials identified the victim as Kaufman County assistant district  attorney Mark Hasse. The 57-year-old was  assaulted and shot multiple times by at least one gunman, police  said.

The apparent assassination took place at  around 8:50 a.m. in a parking lot near the courthouse where Hasse worked as a  felony prosecutor who headed murder and drug cases.

Kaufman County Sheriff David Byrnes said he  had never seen such a case in his four decade career.

Crime scene: Law enforcement officers investigate the scene of a shooting in downtown Kaufman, Texas

‘I’ve been doing this 43 years and I have  never experienced anything like this before,’ he told reporters at a Thursday  afternoon news conference.

Hasse was rushed to hospital where he died of his injuries.  He was unmarried and had no children.

Witnesses told police they saw two suspects  flee the scene in an older, silver  Ford Taurus. However, the number of suspects  had not been verified.

Kaufman Chief of Police Chris Aulbaugh said  the shooting appeared to be targeted at Hasse for a number of reasons. ‘The fact  it was not an ongoing rampage, it was one individual being shot and then (the  gunmen) leaving the scene,’ he said. ‘It was a very small, very short  confrontation.’

The suspects were of unknown race but were  reportedly wearing all black, with one or both of them wearing a tactical-type  vest. Some reports claim they were wearing masks.

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Tragic: Mark Hasse, pictured, was unmarried and had no children but gave everything to his job

widespread manhunt is underway for  the  culprits with the help of police and sheriff’s  departments from across the  county. ‘Every police department in the county is involved,’ county spokesman  Pat Laney said.

No arrests have been announced but the Dallas  County District Attorney’s Office reportedly told the Dallas  News  that a suspect had been arrested in the case.

‘I can’t overstep the bounds of  Kaufman  County,’ the news website quoted DA Craig Watkins as saying on  Thursday  afternoon. ‘All I can tell you is that there was an arrest.’

The initial $10,000 reward for  information  leading to the arrest of the gunmen has been doubled to  $20,000 after a local  business offered to match the cash offered by  Kaufman County  Crimestoppers.

Investigators are searching through Hasse‘s case files, trying to identify any potential enemies he may have had,  including any members of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas gang.

The Dallas News reported  that Hasse   had been heavily involved in the investigation of members of the Aryan  Brotherhood.

Shortly after the prosecutor was shot and  killed, the Department of Justice put out a statement crediting the Kaufman  County District Attorney’s Office with helping in the investigation of two known  members of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas gang.

The gang members pleaded guilty today to  racketeering charges, after Hasse’s shooting.

The release states that 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.

Kaufman County DA Mike McLelland said in an  afternoon news conference that the county had suffered a  ‘devastating loss’  today. However, he said Hasse had been fully aware of the  dangers of his job  and ‘accepted them readily’.

‘When you deal with bad people on a  regular  basis, you know there’s the potential for these bad people to do something bad  to you because they have done bad things to other  people,’ he told  reporters.

Though he said Hasse  didn’t have any active  cases dealing with the Aryan Brotherhood.

McLelland said his team of 13 prosecutors  were mourning the shock death of their  colleague. ‘(We’re) a family not just an  office,’ he said. ‘And trust me the entire office took this very, very badly.

‘Mark was an absolutely stellar prosecutor  and good friend.’

The DA appealed to anyone who had any  information to come forward.  ‘Anything you folks can do to help us get our  hands on this scum would  be appreciated,’ he said.

Sheriff Byrnes said the courthouse had  surveillance cameras but they were  directed at the buildings not the parking  lot so didn’t capture the  shooting or the suspects as they made their getaway.

He said his office was beefing up security  for Hasse’s colleagues.

‘We will have a uniformed officer in the  parking lot for the foreseeable future ,’ he said.

McLelland added that the walk to the  courthouse would be ‘humbling… unhappy’ now his friend was gone.

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Posted by on January 31, 2013. Filed under NY News,Slider. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.