LONGVIEW, TX (KTRE) - The shooting of District Judge Julie Kocurek Friday night in Austin has brought up new concerns of security and public officials.
According to the Austin Police Department, Kocurek was shot in her driveway. She was last listed in serious condition at an Austin area hospital. As of Saturday afternoon, authorities are still investigating to see if the judge was targeted or if it was random.
124th District Judge Hon. Alfonzo Charles said the threats are real but at the end of the day, there is only so much that can be done.
"You can take all the safety measure you want, but you can't stop things like this," Charles said.
Before turning his eyes on Washington, U.S. Congressman Louie Gohmert served as the 7th district judge in Tyler. Gohmert said the threats are very real and that the local authorities can help, but serious threats are not always known.
"You can't handle thousands of cases and not have somebody threaten you," Gohmert said. "If the judge has a threat, the local sheriff's department will provide protection. The problem is somebody that is really serious, they will not make a threat."
Charles said the Gregg County courthouse has a very good security system, and he is never worried inside the courthouse. Charles said things have been done outside of the courthouse, like allowing for judges to not have their addresses listed in the appraisal district records.
"There are those things but still you are limited with what you can do outside of the courthouse," Charles said.
Charles first learned of the shooting of Judge Kocurek Saturday morning, and has even sat in several seminars and conferences with the judge.
"I did know her," Charles said. "There's only 600 active judges in the state, so you do know people. It hits close to home."
Charles said he cannot begin to speculate on what led to the shooting, but from what he knew, she was described as a fair judge by those who were in the courtroom.
Charles said judges have an easier path to get an open carry license. Charles said they only have to pass a classroom exam.