Yesterday morning, Judge Joseph Bruzzese of the Jefferson County (Ohio) Court of Common Pleas was shot in the chest at near point-blank range as he prepared to enter the courthouse in Steubenville, Ohio. Judge Bruzzese was rushed by helicopter to a Pittsburgh hospital, and it appears that he will survive. Remarkably, the judge was armed and returned fire. A local probation officer was also at the scene and also fired at the perpetrator, who was killed. Authorities surmise that had the probation officer not been present, the suspect would have continued firing until Judge Bruzzese was dead.
The suspect was identified as Nathaniel Richmond, whose son was convicted in the same court for raping a 16-year-old girl in 2012. But the motivation for the shooting is unclear. Judge Bruzzese apparently had nothing at all to do with the younger Richmond’s case, although he is overseeing a separate case in which the elder Richmond is the plaintiff.
A sad and strange story, which could have been much worse if not for some quick thinking by the probation officer. Wishing Judge Bruzzese a speedy and full recovery.