KAUFMAN COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) – An assistant district attorney with the Kaufman County District Attorney’s Office has been shot and killed. The shooting happened around 8:50 a.m.
Officials have confirmed to CBS 11 News that Chief Prosecutor Mark Hasse was shot in the parking lot of the department of motor vehicles, which is across the street from the county courthouse. Hasse was transported to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Kaufman where he was pronounced dead.
During a 10:30 a.m. press conference officials confirmed that Hasse was walking to his office, from the parking lot, when he was assaulted by an unknown person and “shot multiple times.” Mark Hasse graduated from Southern Methodist University in 1981 and had been licensed to practice law since 1982.
Thursday afternoon SMU issued a statement saying, “The SMU Dedman School of Law community is deeply saddened and shocked at the news of the death of our alumnus and dedicated public servant, Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Hasse’s family and friends during this very difficult and painful time.”
Hasse, 57, had been a Kaufman County District Attorney since July of 2010.
Investigators are now looking into the criminal cases on Hasse’s calender, as well as his past cases. Kaufman Police Chief Chris Aulbaugh told CBS 11 News that Hasse’s shooting appears to have been a targeted attack and that authorities have no elevated concern for the general public.
During a morning press conference Chief Aulbaugh spoke about the dangers that come with working in the justice system. “We always have to think about that in our jobs. Any one of us involved with dealing with a criminal element has to think about that.”
Kaufman County Sheriff David Byrnes said the incident threatens the framework of lawfulness. “We understand that we may come in contact with violent people, but this is the next level and you know your not supposed to attack that level, because that’s the very fabric of our society is our criminal justice system.”
Officials from the Kaufman Police Department, Kaufman County Sheriff’s Department, and the Texas Rangers are all working the case.
Initially the Kaufman County Courthouse was placed on lockdown, but around 10:30 a.m. officials closed the building and sent employees home. As a precaution administrators put the entire Kaufman Independent School District on full lockdown. After the lunch hour Kaufman ISD officials said a “soft lockdown” would continue all day. Students are being allowed to move around inside buildings only and will be released at their regular times.
Authorities believe that at least one person, possibly two, were involved in the shooting – both are still at large. State troopers have confirmed that an all points bulletin has been put out for two males, wearing all black clothing and some type of vests, possibly tactical. Chief Aulbaugh said, “We had some witnesses that saw an individual fleeing the area on foot and getting into a vehicle.” That vehicle is described as a possibly dark brown or silver-colored sedan, similar to a Ford Taurus, with no license plates.
Investigators are asking that anyone with information about the shooting, suspect/suspects or wanted vehicle call police. Kaufman County Crime Stoppers is now offering a $36,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case.
Several local business have contributed the fund. Contact Crime Stoppers at 877-TIPSKCC (847-7522) or send a text to 274637.
Kaufman County is just southeast of Dallas.
The Kaufman County Sheriff Department held a press conference Thursday afternoon to provide updates in the case.
Sheriff David Byrnes, Chief Chris Aulbaugh and District Attorney Mike McLelland addressed the media.
The men said they reviewed surveillance tape from cameras on top of the courthouse annex, but saw nothing to help with the investigation.
Based on witness statements, Chief Aulbaugh said there was a short confrontation before the shooting, but the nature of the confrontation was unknown.
“I hope the people who did this are watching,” said District Attorney McLelland. “We’re going to pull you out of whatever hole you’re in and let the people of Kaufman county prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.”
CBS 11 News has crews in the air and on the ground and will have more information as it becomes available.
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