National

Jan 31, 2013 2:08 PM

Texas attorney shot, killed near courthouse

Kaufman County Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse was gunned down while walking to work Thursday morning, police say.

Hasse was shot multiple times while walking from the parking lot toward the county courthouse at about 8 a.m., officials said. He was transported to a nearby hospital where he later died.

"This is the next level (of crime)," Kaufman County Sheriff David Byrnes said Thursday at a news conference.

No arrests have been reported in connection with the shooting. Police said witnesses have reported two shooters wearing all black, one or both of them possibly wearing a tactical-type vest, and driving an older, silver Ford Taurus.

Chris Aulbaugh, Kaufman Chief of Police, said they have not yet confirmed that there were two people involved in the shooting and if the shooter(s) were wearing a tactical jacket as described.

Police taped off the parking lot near the Tax Assessor/Collectors office, which is near the courthouse and is commonly used by judges and prosecutors. Officers later expanded the taped off area to include two city blocks. Several streets around the courthouse and parking lot are closed as the shooting is investigated.

Officials said they were not aware of any threats made toward Hasse and that they didn't know of any cases that might explain the shooting.

Agents with the ATF, the Texas Rangers and State Troopers from the Texas Department of Public Safety are at the scene assisting local law enforcement with the investigation. DPS is also conducting a search by air.

Tonya Radcliffe, a board member on the Kaufman County Appraisal District whose office is adjacent to the scene of the shooting, said a staff member heard the gunshots and called police. Radcliffe said she and her staff of about 25 are in the building and under lockdown.

Also locked down are seven campuses with the Kaufman Independent School District, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital and the Kaufman County Courthouse. Forney schools are under a soft shelter, which means kids can move throughout the school, but are not allowed outside. A similar soft shelter is in place for schools in the Crandall ISD. The three campuses in the Scurry-Rosser ISD are also on lockdown.

Today, Jan. 31, is the last day for people to pay property taxes without a penalty. Radcliffe said even though the office is locked down, people can still use dropboxes, pay by phone or make payments in person at sub-courthouses until the lockdown is lifted.

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