Texas district judge shot in driveway, shooter still on the run

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A manhunt is underway after a Travis County judge was shot outside her home. Austin police say someone opened fire on District Judge Julie Kocurek in the driveway of her Tarrytown home around 10:30 p.m. Friday.

“There were four gunshots — very quick succession — there wasn’t any spacing,” said Dudley McCalla who lives across the street. “Just bang, bang, bang, bang.”

Kocurek had just pulled up to her home in West Austin with some other people when the shooting happened, according to police.

She was taken to University Medical Center Brackenridge where she is currently in stable condition. Sources tell KXAN she was admitted into ICU for observation. Sources also say that the judge received injuries from metal pieces and shattered glass to the upper body–left shoulder and face area–but that she was not a directly hit.

Police are searching for the shooter and interviewing witnesses.

“What I would love to report is someone is in custody,” said Austin Police Commander Mark Spangler. “We don’t have anyone in custody. People should use a heightened state of awareness.”

When McCalla, a friend of the Kocurek family, heard police and EMS pull up to the judge’s home he thought the worst.

“For too many years in Texas there have been stories of judges being assassinated or shot at in connection with cases they’re trying,” said McCalla.

Investigators have not said whether or not the shooting is connected to her work as a judge, but sources tell KXAN the initial investigation suggests Kocurek was targeted.

Judge Kocurek has served as the presiding judge of the 390th District since January 1999, when she was appointed by then-Governor George W. Bush. She later went on to become the only Republican elected to a state district judgeship in Travis County before switching to the Democratic Party in 2006.

Judge Kocurek’s High Profile Cases

She has been involved in a couple of recent high profile cases in Central Texas including the murder case of Samantha Dean–where she signed search warrants in the case.

Former Austin Police Officer VonTrey Clark is accused of killing the expecting mother. Dean was found shot to death in a Bastrop County parking lot in February, and Clark is awaiting trial.

Judge Kocurek is also presiding over the Debra Baker murder case.

Baker died in her Austin home in 1988 and Mark Norwood is her accused killer.

Investigators linked Norwood to the case through DNA, and indicted by a grand jury in 2012. He’s already serving time behind bars for the 1986 murder of another woman.

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