An Ohio judge was shot and wounded outside his courthouse Monday by the father of Ma'lik Richmond, one of two young men convicted in a local 2013 rape case that garnered national attention.
The 65-year-old judge, who sits on the Jefferson County Court of Common Pleas, was flown to a Pittsburgh hospital, where he underwent surgery. Republican Gov. John Kasich said he has been told Bruzzese is expected to survive.
The gunman was identified by authorities as Nathaniel “Nate” Richmond. His son Ma’lik, who was 16 at the time, served about 10 months in a juvenile facility after being convicted with another Steubenville High School football player of raping a 16-year-old girl during an all-night party in 2012.
The case attracted international attention because the charges were brought after students talked about the incident in a YouTube video and texted naked photos of the girl, from a nearby West Virginia town, to each other. Investigators were seeking a motive and had not found a connection to the rape case, Jefferson County Prosecutor Jane Hanlin said.
Attorney General Mike DeWine said the state crime lab will also help investigate the shooting.
One of Bruzzese’s colleagues believes the attack must have been intentional. Judge Joseph Corabi said he and the county’s two other judges park in reserved spots next to the courthouse and walk a few feet to a side entrance to the building.
“Everyone knows who parks there,” he said. “He was clearly an intended target.”
Corabi characterized his colleague as fair, hardworking and a “tough son of a gun.”
“He is very intelligent and he can cut to the case,” he said. “He spots issues and he resolves the issues.”
Calling the attack on Bruzzese a “cowardly ambush,” Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor said the attack “reminds us all of the very real potential for violence against all judges.”
“Violence against judges represents an attack on the Rule of Law, the foundation of our country,” she said.
Contributing: The Associated Press