Law & the Courts

An Ohio Judge Is Ambushed, Returns Fire With His Personal Weapon

This is a truly bizarre and troubling story from Ohio. A man ambushed a judge on his way into the courthouse. The judge and a probation officer returned fire, killing the attacker:

An Ohio judge was shot Monday morning outside his courthouse in an ambush attack that ended when the judge and a probation officer returned fire, killing the attacker, authorities said.

Police said a man apparently waiting for Judge Joseph J. Bruzzese Jr., who sits on the Jefferson County Court of Common Pleas, ran up to the judge and began shooting when he approached the courthouse. Bruzzese drew a gun and fired at least five rounds at the shooter, possibly hitting the attacker, Jefferson County Sheriff Fred J. Abdalla told reporters during emotional remarks Monday morning.

And here’s the bizarre part:

The shooting occurred in Steubenville, Ohio, a city best known for a high-profile rape case involving high school football players.

In a strange twist, the shooter was identified by authorities on Monday afternoon as Nathaniel Richmond, father of one of the two teenage boys found delinquent — or guilty — in 2013 as part of that rape case.

Judge Bruzzese, however, had “nothing to do” with the rape case, and his attacker’s motive is unknown.

The ambush marks the fourth significant attack on law enforcement officers since Friday. On Friday, six police officers were shot in three different cities. Today, a judge and probation officer appeared to be the targets. Fortunately, Judge Bruzzese was armed and prepared for an attack. Other vulnerable public officials should learn from his example. 


David French — David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and an attorney.