KAUFMAN, Texas — Deputies escorted some Kaufman County employees into the courthouse Monday, two days after the district attorney and his wife were found shot to death in their home in an attack that stirred fears that other public employees could be targeted by assassins.
Law-enforcement officers were seen patrolling one side of the courthouse, one holding a semi-automatic weapon, while others walked around inside.
Authorities have said little about the investigation of the deaths of Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, whose bodies were found Saturday.
The couple’s slayings came less than two weeks after Colorado’s prison chief was shot to death at his front door, apparently by an ex-convict, and a couple of months after Kaufman County Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse was killed in a parking lot near his courthouse office. No arrests have been made in Hasse’s Jan. 31 killing.
“I don’t want to walk around in fear every day … but on the other hand, two months ago, we wouldn’t be having this conversation,” County Judge Bruce Wood, the county’s top administrator, said Monday at a news conference.
Law-enforcement agencies throughout Texas were on high alert.
McLelland, 63, was the 13th prosecutor killed in the U.S. since the National Association of District Attorneys began keeping count in the 1960s.
Kaufman County Sheriff David Byrnes would not give details Sunday of how the killings unfolded and said there was nothing to indicate for certain whether the DA’s slaying was connected to Hasse’s.
El Paso County, Colo., sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Joe Roybal said investigators had so far found no evidence connecting the Texas killings to the Colorado case, but added: “We’re examining all possibilities.”
Colorado’s corrections director, Tom Clements, was killed March 19 when he answered the doorbell at his home outside Colorado Springs. Evan Spencer Ebel, a white supremacist and former Colorado inmate suspected of shooting Clements, died in a shootout with Texas deputies two days later about 100 miles from Kaufman.
In an interview shortly after the Colorado slaying, McLelland himself raised the possibility that Hasse was gunned down by a white supremacist gang.
McLelland, elected in 2010, said his office had prosecuted several cases against such gangs, particularly one known as the Aryan Brotherhood. The groups have a strong presence around Kaufman County, a mostly rural area dotted with subdivisions, with a population of about 104,000.