A probation officer killed one suspect and captured another in an apparent ambush on an Ohio judge in Steubenville. Judge Joseph Bruzzese Jr. has been evacuated by helicopter to a hospital and is in stable condition. Police are still trying to piece together the motive for the attack:
Steubenville City Manager James Mavromatis says Judge Joseph J. Bruzzese Jr. was ambushed and shot outside the courthouse. Bruzzese is being taken for treatment by medical helicopter. Mavromatis says he was talking after the shots were fired and is said to be in stable condition. Judge Bruzzese’s family is aware of the situation.
One suspect has died after being shot by a probation officer who returned fire. A second suspect has been taken into custody after the shooting. Mavromatis has not released the names of the suspects, but he did say they have both done prison time.
“We’re starting to put this whole picture together, but basically what you have is the judge is going to work, these subjects were waiting for them. He comes up, shoots at the judge. The judge returns fire,” Mavromatis said. “We also have a probation officer that was behind the judge. He returns fire as he is shot at. The subject is deceased that he shot at.
WTOV reporter Lauren Healy got video of the arrest of the second suspect, who does not appear to have been a shooter in the attack:
— Lauren Healy (@LaurenWGME) August 21, 2017
Whatever took place happened quickly. Witnesses heard seven or eight gunshots in quick succession and looked to find a police officer holding one of the suspects down.
City Manager James Mavromatis says the video of the attack shows Bruzzese to be the deliberate target. He also suggested at least one of them might have had personal experience with the judge:
“Clearly looking at the one video, you see the attacker coming up toward him,” Mavromatis said. “I’d say he was the intended target.”
Mavromatis called the attack a “deliberate act against our city’s judge.”
One suspect is dead, and the other is in custody, he said. The identities of the men have not been released, but Mavromatis said both had criminal records and “one may have” appeared before Bruzzese.
That may also take some time to unwind, and people should be warned to take all of these details with a grain of salt until independently corroborated. If this turns out to be a revenge assassination attempt, the state of Ohio should make sure to send a message by ensuring that no accomplices ever see the light of day again. Certainly, Ohio judges will be inclined to craft sentences for that purpose.