Texas authorities announced they’ve made an arrest after a shooting Thursday morning left one prosecutor dead and a town looking for answers. Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse was walking from his car into the Kaufman County Courthouse when he was approached by two men and gunned down in front of witnesses, police said.
Hasse, 57, had reportedly been involved in the prosecution of the Aryan Brotherhood, a notorious gang of white supremacists. At a press conference Thursday afternoon investigators said Hasse had been assaulted and “shot multiple times,” although they suspected the attack was also symbolic in nature.
“When you hear a DA at 8:40 in the morning is gunned down by two people, I think there’s a reasonable presumption it’s not random,” lawyer James Lee Bright told the Dallas Morning News. “Within two or three minutes, the whole square was literally flooded with officers. I just went inside, and by the time I got inside the information it was actually a shooting and who it might be was just barely starting to filter into the courthouse.”
Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins would not elaborate on the details of the arrest, only telling reporters one had been made. The shooting came just hours before two members of the Aryan Brotherhood pleaded guilty to a slew of charges in a Houston courtroom. Hasse had been involved in their prosecution and friends say he would not have been a difficult man to find.
Kaufman is a small town less than 40 miles away from Dallas in North Texas with a population of roughly 6,700 residents. Hasse was described as a “well-liked person” who was not married and almost always carried a gun for his own protection. He worked under the district attorney since 2010 after recovering from “catastrophic” injuries sustained in a plane crash.
“We understand that we may come into contact with violent people but this is the next level. You are not supposed to attack this level,” Kaufman County Sheriff David Byrnes said at the press conference.
Hasse’s boss, District Attorney Mike McLelland, described him as a “stellar prosecutor” whose death would not go unavenged.
"I hope that the people that did this are watching, because we're very confident that we're going to find you," McLelland said Thursday. "We're going to pull you out of whatever hole you're in, we're going to bring you back and let the people of Kaufman County prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law."