KAUFMAN –– U.S. Marshals conducted a security sweep Tuesday to point out potential vulnerabilities at the aging Kaufman County Courthouse. Cameras were banned and media trucks were moved to clear the perimeter around a building where fear is being felt in every corner.
When a courthouse employee walks across the street walk to the annex, an armed guard goes with them. Twenty-four hour security surrounds every elected official at work and at home.
Eight weeks ago, Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse was shot and killed walking into the courthouse.
Last weeked, District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, were murdered in their Forney home.
"Our office is frightened and scared, you know," said a man wearing a jacket identifying himself as a Kaufman County District Attorney's Office police officer. "Trying to deal with it."
The marshals' sweep occurred out of sight, just like most of Kaufman County stayed on Tuesday.
Sources inside the courthouse said the FBI and Kaufman County Sheriff's Office advised elected officials to avoid going in front of TV cameras because of the fear that anyone who talks could become a target.
"I'm trying to keep my staff reassured that were gonna do the best we can," said Judge David Lewis, who said he was friends with Mike and Cynthia McLelland. They attended the same church and Sunday school classes.
"We are being close with information; obviously we don't want to do anything to trouble the investigation," Judge Lewis said. "All law enforcement has my confidence that they know what they are doing."
Fear is filtering out to the streets, too.
"Just don't open your door, be aware of your surroundings," said Kaufman resident Johnny Thomas.
The entire courthouse staff is on edge, but determined to do what their DA would have done: Bring a criminal, or criminals, to justice.
Sources say there are no specific threats against any elected official, but even the slightest hostile comment made on Facebook is being investigated.
The courthouse and all offices will close at 11 a.m. Thursday so employees can attend the public memorial service for Mike and Cynthia McLelland. The memorial is at 1 p.m. at Sunnyvale First Baptist Church, 3018 North Belt Line Road, in Sunnyvale.