According to the sheriff of Jefferson County, Ohio, a local judge and a probation officer fired back and killed the man as a result. Judge Joseph Bruzzese Jr. of Steubenville, a town approximately 30 miles west of Pittsburgh, had been shot and then returned fire. One suspect is dead and another is in custody, according to CBS Pittsburgh.

Judge Bruzzese was on his way to work at the Jefferson County Courthouse at approximately 8 a.m. in Steubenville, which is on the banks of the Ohio River. According to Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla, surveillance video at the courthouse video shows the judge fiviring approximately five shots at the perpetrator, who also managed to squeeze off five shots.   

On Monday morning, Sheriff Abdalla told the media that law enforcement was familiar with the suspect and are now investigating further. Judge Bruzzese was flown to a Pittsburgh hospital, where he is reportedly in stable condition after undergoing surgery. Republican Gov. John Kasich said that the 65-year-old jurist is expected to make it out alive.    

'All judges should be armed'

Abdalla said that the probation officer fired the kill shots. The alleged shooter's identity has yet to be released. A passenger in the suspect’s car was grazed by a ricocheted bullet and taken to the hospital.  According to local reports, the passenger claimed that he and the alleged perpetrator had been drinking. The injured passenger said that the alleged shooter told him that he had to visit the court, but did not know a shooting was planned.

Judge Bruzzese worked in the general and domestic relations division of the Steubenville court. He is an avid hunter. It is not clear whether the passenger in the car was struck by fragments from the judge's or the officer's firearm. “Every judge should be armed today in America,” Abdalla said. “Prosecutors need to be armed. It was a cold-blooded attempted murder on a judge.”

The armed assault took place in an alley next to the courthouse. According to a fellow judge, the attack was assuredly intentional because the reserved parking places for the judges are well known and next to the alleyway.   

Television footage showed that the suspect's body was lying next to a car at a neighboring bank drive-thru. Local police report that a male getaway driver has been taken into custody. While the investigation continues, the courthouse will remain closed.  



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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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