Criminal Justice

Investigators of prosecutor's slaying are still seeking suspects, a motive

As a special U.S. flag was flown at half-staff this week in honor of a veteran prosecutor gunned down on the way to work at a Texas courthouse Thursday, investigators are still seeking to identify a suspect or suspects in the case.

Witnesses say as many as two people shot Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse, 57, multiple times on Thursday morning after he apparently parked his car in a lot regularly used by employees of the Kaufman County courthouse, according to the Dallas Morning News and Fox 4 News.

The DA’s office closed to the public on Thursday, but staff worked through the weekend to comb through Hasse’s files and try to determine if anyone he was prosecuting could have been involved in what authorities have described as an ambush-style slaying on his way to work. A reward fund had reached $71,150 at last report, and Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland hopes it will soon grow to $500,000.

“The more money that stacks up, the better the things that come in,” McLelland told the newspaper Saturday. “Sooner or later, this idiot’s going to say something to somebody. If there is sufficient motivation out there, that will get back to us.”

A special U.S. flag that was flying over the state capital on Sept. 11, 2001 is being flown in Hasse’s memory, with an honor guard, at the Kaufman courthouse on Monday and Tuesday, according to Fox and NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth.

Services will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday at the Terrell Independent School District’s Performing Arts Center.

County Sheriff David Byrnes said top officials in Austin and Washington, D.C., are fully supporting the investigation.

“We’re probably in the elimination stage,” he said. “We’re trying to eliminate a lot things, the minutiae that’s always there with these kind of things, and we’re moving forward with that and we’ll continue to do that.”

A spokesman for the sheriff’s department said authorities are reviewing surveillance video from businesses near the courthouse, KMAS reports.

Some news reports have said Hasse had been threatened and was carrying a gun, but McLellan said he knew the prosecutor personally, often walking with him from the courthouse, and told the Morning News he is confident Hasse was not unduly concerned about his safety as he regularly followed a set commuting routine.

Hasse “was not afraid of anybody or anything,” McLellan said.

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