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County prosecutor killed near N. Texas courthouse

KAUFMAN, Texas — An assistant district attorney was shot and killed Thursday morning near the North Texas courthouse where he worked, and authorities said they were searching through his cases to try to find clues about why he may have been targeted.

Mark Hasse, 57, had exited his vehicle in the parking lot behind the Kaufman County Courthouse annex and was walking toward the building when a masked gunman shot him multiple times just before 9 a.m. and fled in what was thought to be an older model Ford Taurus, Kaufman County authorities said.

Investigators were talking to witnesses and had some leads but had not arrested anyone, Kaufman police Chief Chris Aulbaugh said. He urged the public to come forward with tips and said a $20,000 reward was being offered.

District Attorney Mike McLelland said his office, the county and state had suffered a "devastating loss" and called Hasse a spectacular prosecutor who would not be easily replaced. He said Hasse, head of the organized crime unit, knew the dangers of his job but readily accepted them.

Local law enforcement officials decried the shooting as an attack on the criminal justice system.

"We understand that we may come into contact with violent people, but this is the next level," Kaufman County Sheriff David Byrnes said at a news conference.

Hasse, who previously worked as an assistant prosecutor in Dallas County, had worked in Kaufman County for three years. Kaufman is about 33 miles southeast of Dallas.

County prosecutor killed near N. Texas courthouse 01/31/13 [Last modified: Thursday, January 31, 2013 10:29pm]
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