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Armed Ohio Judge Survives Shooting By Firing Back

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Ohio Judge Joseph J. Bruzzese Jr. is expected to survive after a man shot him in front of the courthouse in which he works on Aug. 21.

Bruzzese was armed when Nathaniel Richmond ambushed him at the Steubenville, Ohio, legal building and opened fire, reports The Washington Post. The judge emptied at least five rounds, and an armed probation officer came to his side and also shot at Richmond, who died from his injuries.

"This individual laid in wait for our judge," Jefferson County Sheriff Fred J. Abdalla told reporters through tears, according to The Post. "It just hurts. First thing on Monday morning, you have a judge shot in front of his courthouse … This was an ambush and an attempted murder on our judge."

Abdalla said that he was not sure whether Richmond was struck by the bullets fired by Bruzzese or the officer, although the attacker did sustain three bullet wounds.

"This man shoots a judge, could've killed him," said Abdalla. "Thank God he's not that good a shot."

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Officials reportedly have video footage of the shooting. They have not yet released it publicly but are working to enhance it so that viewers can clearly see what happened to the judge.

According to the officer, Bruzzese is a hunter and sportsman, and Abdalla suggested to the judge that he start carrying a firearm years ago just to make sure that he is protected in case of any encounters with "nutcases."

"With all the nuts running around, I encouraged him to get a weapon," Abdalla said. "And he did."

Bruzzese, who presides over criminal felonies and some civil cases, arrived at the courthouse that morning along with another person, left and then returned again.

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Richmond was also there, and he "jumped out" of his car and ran over to Bruzzese and opened fire as soon as he spotted him, said Abdalla. The person with Bruzzese was waiting in the car and got hit with what was likely a bullet that ricocheted.

They were taken to the hospital, though there is no news on their condition.

Richmond's son, Ma'lik, a former high school football player, made headlines in 2013 when he was found guilty in a rape case, although officials note that Bruzzese was not involved in those proceedings, for which a special prosecutor and a visiting judge were brought in, notes WTOV.

"There's absolutely no reason to believe there's any connection whatsoever between Ma'lik Richmond and the actions of his father today," said Jefferson County Prosecutor Jane Hanlin, according to WTOV.

Sources: The Washington Post, WTOV / Featured Images: Ammodramus/Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office/Wikimedia CommonsStephen Z/Flickr

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