State and federal authorities in Texas are searching for the shooters who fatally gunned down prosecutor Mark Hasse outside the Kaufman County Courthouse Thursday, and have upped the reward for information leading to the assailants to $64,500.
At this point, because of varying witness accounts, the authorities are not sure if they are searching for one or two shooters. They believe at least one of the assailants was wearing a bullet-proof vest. Witnesses said the attackers may have been wearing masks or hoods pulled over their faces.
Either way, authorities said the killers concealed faces prevented witnesses from seeing any identifying traits.
Hasse, 57, was a longtime felony prosecutor for the Dallas County District Attorney's Office and was current assistant DA for Kaufman County, according to the ABC's Dallas/Fort Worth affiliate WFAA-TV. He'd handled many drug and murder cases.
"We will not stop pursuing this until we have found who did this," Kaufman Police Chief Chris Albaugh said at a news conference today.
Hasse was shot multiple times on his way into court around 8:50 a.m. Thursday. The attackers then fled the scene and put the whole area on lockdown.
Police are searching for a "silver or gray-looking older model four-door Sedan," Albaugh said at the news conference. Evidence taken from the crime scene was being processed, and police said they had not yet determined the type of weapons that were used.
Kaufman County Judge Bruce Wood told WFAA that Hasse was not working on any high-profile cases that would have required extra security, but investigators are looking into his caseload.
"We are reviewing Mr. Hasse's cases and following up on any leads within those cases that would give us a person of interest," Albaugh said.
He added that he did not have any reason to believe that Hasse feared for his life before the fatal shooting.
Rumors have circulated about the possible involvement of the Aryan Brotherhood after two members pleaded guilty to racketeering on Thursday morning. The Kaufman County DA's office, where Hasse worked, was listed as one of 22 agencies on the task force working on the case.
When asked at today's news conference about a possible connection, Albaugh said, "We're not ruling out any involvement until we know, and we have no specific information that the Aryan Brotherhood is a factor here."
He said that it "seems to be a coincidence" that the two events happened on the same morning. Albaugh said the commentary was "speculation based upon timing with the story," but that it did not rule out the possibility that someone in one of Hasse's cases could have been involved.
Authorities said they were following up on numerous tips and are asking anyone with information to call 877-847-7522.
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