Texas DA's killing puts other prosecutors on alert - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Texas DA's killing puts other prosecutors on alert

The double murder of the Kaufman County District Attorney, Mark McLelland, and his wife, Cynthia, over the weekend is alarming to local law enforcement and the Travis County District Attorney's office.

All of its investigators are already on heightened alert. The 19 armed investigators protect 87 prosecutors. But the heightened alert status they are on is normal. The director of investigations says training is an ongoing process. There's even a training video that is available to employees of the Travis County DA's Office. Director of Investigations, Chief Dawn McLean, says the investigators, prosecutors, and staffers train quarterly

"We are fortunate to have investigators in place who are specifically trained in specialized areas, in dignitary protection, active shooter, firearms," McLean said.

She says the 19 armed investigators train quarterly, as do prosecutors and staffers. Chief McLean says they are always on a heightened alert status.

"This incident definitely makes us more aware and more alert but again we are currently more vigilant and we are constantly on alert but we cannot be paralyzed by fear," she said.

The murders caught Governor Rick Perry's attention Monday. The double homicide comes about two months after Kaufman County Assistant District Attorney, Mark Hasse, was gunned down.

"The Texas Rangers are assisting as is the federal counterparts. The Kaufman County Sheriff's department is the lead agency. Our prayers are with the family obviously," Perry said.

There's even House Bill 1845 that would make it a capital punishment for killing a prosecutor in retaliation.

Sgt. John Foster with the Williamson County Sheriff's Office says threats come with the job.

"I think everybody is on heightened alert from what has happened in Kaufman," he said.

"I've been threatened, people that I work with have been threatened, it's something we have to live with, it's part of our job. Be it a prosecutor or law enforcement officer, you're going to be threatened in this line of work," he said.

In a county known for its tough on crime stance, Sgt. Foster says the Williamson County courthouse is fully staffed.

The sheriff's office is nearby if extra officers are needed. If anything happens, protocols are followed.

It's the same for to the Travis County courthouse.

In Williamson County, off site security is up to each person, unless there's a request. In Travis County, if a prosecutor feels unsafe, they can request close patrol from Austin Police.

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