Local prosecutors talk about dangers of job following shooting - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Local prosecutors talk about dangers of job following shooting

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A county prosecutor is shot dead on his way to his office southeast of Dallas Thursday. Security officers at the Travis County District Attorney's Office are closely watching that investigation.

Thursday morning an assistant district attorney in Kaufman County, south of Dallas was gunned down by two men near the county courthouse where he worked.

Mindy Montford is a former prosecutor.

"Certainly, it's a harsh reminder. It can happen," she said.

During the nine years that she worked for the Travis County District Attorney's office, she says she felt nervous several times.

"You receive death threats. The majority of them are not acted upon thank goodness. The majority of them are not necessarily serious. You do want to take all of them seriously," Montford said.

Her most frightening moment was when a man, who she helped convict of aggravated assault, escaped from jail.

"The investigators called me immediately picked me up and escorted me personally back to the office. APD was notified just to monitor my neighborhood street more closely," Montford said.

It was chief of investigations Dawn McLean who orchestrated that safety plan. She oversees 19 investigators and works closely with the sheriff's deputies who staff the district and county courthouses.

"You can never be too safe and you always need to be aware," she said.

McLean is in charge of protecting the 87 assistant district attorneys and the district attorney.

"We do communicate weekly about upcoming trials, about if we have investigated cases that we see that there's a higher risk, then extra people are put in place. Investigators stay after. Investigators will do whatever it takes so that they get home safely," McLean said.

It just so happened that as news broke of the prosecutor's death in Kaufman County, McLean's officers were in their quarterly meeting about active shooter training.

"It felt like it didn't just happen to Kaufman," McLean said. "It happened to every DA's office and county attorney's office because that prosecutor is the same who we work with day in and day out. Our hearts go out to that family."

"I think we all have to stop and make sure that we are taking the necessary precautions in our own lives," said Montford.

Travis County judges are now able to have armed sheriff's deputies as bailiffs. Several are taking advantage of that. Chief McLean says she may add more security changes after this latest shooting.

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