Lubbock courthouse beefs up security after Kaufman Co. shootings
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -
Lubbock County officials have increased security both in and around the courthouse after the Kaufman County district attorney, Mike McLelland and his wife Cynthia were shot to death in their home.
"When something like Kaufman County happens, when a wife is killed, that probably scares me more than anything. It kind of sends shock waves when you have a family member killed like that," said Lubbock County Criminal District Attorney Matt Powell.
The killings occurred nearly two months after Kaufman County assistant prosecutor, Mark Hasse was gunned down outside the Kaufman County Courthouse. And while authorities suspect the killings are a retaliation effort by a white supremacist gang, Powell vows not to let the murderers get to him.
"We're not going to overreact, we're not going to live in fear and we're not going to let these guys dictate to us what we can and can't do."
Powell has seen it all in his over 20 years as a prosecutor. He has had contracts for his death out on him and receives threats on a regular basis. According to Powell, it's all a part of the job, but he didn't realize just what he was in for when he chose this career.
"When I was a baby prosecutor, I don't think there was ever a point that I thought, 'Gosh, this is going to be a dangerous profession,'" he said.
Powell says he worries most for his family members who he says were forced into this life and adds that regardless of the distance from Lubbock to Kaufman County, the deaths do have an impact.
"I don't know if it's business as usual because anytime something like that happens, I think there is a little bit more heightened degree of concern."
Lt. Bryan Taylor with the Lubbock County Sheriff's Office says it's a number one priority for the Sheriff's Department to protect those who fight for justice and he says they are working with county employees to make sure they stay safe.
"Our main emphasis is trying to encourage the staff members inside the courthouse to be a little more aware of their surroundings," he said. "Just to gain entry into the courthouse you have to go through an extensive screening process and we feel that is very effective."
Lt. Taylor added that as technology evolves, improvements are constantly made to courthouse security. Taylor says, if necessary, sheriff's deputies may even escort members of the DA's office to and from work.