A heightened safety awareness varies among counties following the most recent killings in Kaufman County this past weekend.
Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, were found dead in their house Saturday, just two months after an assistant district attorney was gunned down in a parking lot.
At the Nacogdoches County Courthouse it was business as usual Monday. For security, there's a heightened awareness. They're well aware that two top criminal justice officials were killed in Kaufman County, which is just 135 miles away.
"The hardest thing to absorb is this is another form of terrorism," Chief Deputy Stephen Godfrey of the Nacogdoches County Sheriff's Office said.
The killings prompted Godfrey to call District Attorney Nicole Lostracco. He scheduled a security assessment for her work and home. He's offering the security review to other officials and residents.
"You set parameters and have a plan of action in place," Godfrey said. "Some of that being scenario based with training in your home, with your family members."
Lostracco chose not to talk about security issues publicly. It was a wise move on her part according to Tim James. The defense attorney is a former district attorney and special investigator of organized crime. He's familiar with the white supremacist groups multiple agencies are investigating.
"We have in this area some of these AB's, Aryan Brotherhood people just as they do up there in Kaufman County, so I think it's a very smart decision on her part because those kind of comments can jeopardize the trial," James said.
Lostracco did provide one quote.
When asked if she totes a gun, she responded with a grin, "I live in Texas. I'm very confident about security and safety."
County Court-at-Law judge Jack Sinz also feels safe. On the other hand, he told us his parents worry about his safety.
Right now the U.S. Marshal's office is assessing the Nacogdoches County Courthouse's security measures. The request was made prior to the Kaufman County killings. Angelina County Sheriff Greg Sanches said he's received no requests for additional security measures and added courthouse safety will be monitored. In Texas counties, it is the responsibility of the sheriff to assure courthouse safety, but all security practices must be approved by the county judge.
Saturday, July 26 2014 2:09 PM EDT2014-07-26 18:09:07 GMT
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