Ohio Judge Joseph Bruzzese was shot during an apparent ambush outside of the Jefferson County Court of Common Pleas in Steubenville, Ohio on Monday. According to the Washington Post and local outlet WTOV, the suspect was waiting for Bruzzese just outside the courthouse earlier that morning. The judge was hit, but not before he returned fire and shot at least five rounds in the direction of his attacker — possibly injuring him in the process. Police quickly responded while Bruzzese was airlifted to a nearby hospital, where he remains in stable condition following emergency surgery.
Per the Post, Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla told reporters that an “individual laid in wait for our judge” in what “was an ambush and an attempted murder on our judge.” Police in the courthouse quickly came to the judge’s rescue, including a probation officer who also shot at the suspect. As a result, investigators aren’t entirely sure whether Bruzzese hit the suspect, who was ultimately shot three times and killed. A second person affiliated with the shooter, the driver of a car who was struck by a possible ricochet, isn’t considered a suspect since the attacker simply told them “he had to be in court Monday morning.”
Police have security camera footage of the incident, which they say they’re trying to enhance for the investigation. Meanwhile, witnesses in the area claim at least seven to eight gunshots were fired at the scene. “My alarm went off at 8 am, and I snoozed it, and a minute or two later, I heard approximately seven or eight gunshots,” Cody Allison told WTOV. “I went to look out the window and I seen somebody in a white shirt, probably a detective, kneeling down firing at something, and that’s when I knew something happened down here.”
— Lauren Healy (@LaurenWTOV9) August 21, 2017