An intense manhunt is underway for a gunman who ambushed and shot a Texas judge in the driveway of her Austin home late Friday.
Travis County District Judge Julie Kocurek was returning home with “others” when a gunman stepped out of the shadows and shot her at about 10 p.m. No one else with the judge was shot.
Someone placed a bag of trash or a garbage can in the middle of the driveway in front of a security gate, requiring her driver to exit the car to move it. That’s when the judge was shot. Police have no leads on a suspect.
A neighbor told reporters he and his wife heard four gunshots ring out “in rapid succession” in the upscale neighborhood of $1 million to $2 million lakefront homes on Scenic Drive just after 10.
Judge Kocurek was listed in critical condition at a local hospital, but her condition was upgraded to stable around midnight Saturday.
The judge was threatened by former Texas Governor and presidential candidate Rick Perry after a grand jury indicted him on felony coercion and abuse-of-power charges in August 2014.
An outraged Perry held a news conference to say, “This farce of a prosecution will be revealed for what it is.” He added that “those responsible will be held to account.”
Judge Kocurek responded to Perry’s threat saying the grand jury would be protected from Perry or anyone else since “no one is above the law.”
Perry withdrew from the 2016 presidential race in September, and the judge recused herself from presiding over his abuse-of-power case.
Judge Kocurek’s recusal was seen by some as fear since Perry — a gun enthusiast — has strong ties to the Austin Police Department and the National Rifle Association (NRA).
Judge Kocurek is under tight security at University Medical Center Brackenridge.
“Judge Kocurek is a wonderful woman,” said District Judge David Wahlberg. “It’s unfathomable to think that anyone would be angry with her.”
Kocurek was appointed to the bench in 1999 by then Republican Governor George W. Bush.
She is currently presiding over a murder case involving a former Austin police officer.
This post was edited.