The Kaufman County Sheriff’s Department said it hasn’t ruled out further violence after district attorney Mike McLelland was killed in his home over the weekend, the second death of a Dallas-area prosecutor in two months.
McLelland, who promised to catch whoever who killed co-worker and Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse in January, was himself shot along with his wife, Cynthia.
“It’s pretty obvious that it’s unnerving,” said Sheriff David A. Byrnes during a televised news conference. “It’s unnerving to the law enforcement community. It’s unnerving to the community at large.”
The McLellands were found shot shortly after 6 p.m. on March 30 in the home they own in the Shamrock Ridge Estates community near Forney, Texas, a rural area southeast of Dallas.
Bruce Wood, who was elected to a county administrative position in 2010 along with McLelland and talked with him several times a week, said the McLellands’ house was surrounded by investigators, family and friends when he visited Saturday night.
“It was a very somber crowd, very respectful crowd -- just people wondering, ‘How in the world did this happen?’” Wood said in a telephone interview.
Some officials are speculating that the slaying of the McLellands is related to the shooting of Hasse, who was killed Jan. 31 by his car near the Kaufman County Courthouse.
“I’m really trying to get across to the Forney community that this was not a random attack; it was a targeted attack,” Forney Mayor Darren Rozell said in a telephone interview. “I’m trying to approach it the very way I’m asking the community to approach it. We need to have faith in the investigators.”
Rozell said he doesn’t believe the community at large is at risk.
The Dallas Morning News, citing an unidentified law-enforcement official, described the scene at the McLellands’ home.
“There are shell casings everywhere,” the official told the newspaper. “This is unprecedented. This is unbelievable.”
Byrnes, during the news conference, said he couldn’t say whether the murder of Hasse was connected to the killing of the McLellands.
“We have nothing indicating that for sure,” Byrnes said.
The sheriff’s office is working with the Texas Rangers and the Federal Bureau of Investigation on the case.
There will be increased security at the Kaufman County Courthouse today, he said. The sheriff’s office is “taking precautions” to protect other elected officials, he said.
Byrnes said his office is considering that there may be more attacks on other elected officials. He said that Mike McLelland hadn’t expressed concern about his safety directly to him.
McLelland, 63, had vowed to find the people who killed Hasse during a press conference after a Feb. 9 memorial service for the assistant district attorney.
“We’re going to pull you out of whatever hole you’re in,” McLelland said during the televised event. “We’re going to bring you back and let the people of Kaufman County prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law. Anything that you people can do to accelerate getting our hands on this scum will be appreciated.”
Kaufman County has about 106,000 residents. The McLellands lived about 26 miles east of Dallas near Forney in a home with a publicly listed address.
Cynthia McLelland was 65 and worked as a psychiatric nurse at Terrell State Hospital, according to the Morning News.