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Texas prosecutor gunned down while walking to the courthouse

KAUFMAN, Texas — An assistant district attorney was shot and killed Thursday morning near the North Texas courthouse where he worked, and authorities said they were searching through his cases to try to find clues about why he may have been targeted.

Mark Hasse, 57, had left his vehicle in the parking lot behind the Kaufman County Courthouse annex when a masked gunman shot him multiple times just before 9 a.m., authorities said.

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Investigators had some leads but had not arrested anyone as of Thursday afternoon, Kaufman Police Chief Chris Aulbaugh said. He urged the public to come forward with tips. The suspect or suspects were believed to have fled in a brown or silver older model Ford Taurus. Officials didn’t indicate any motive for the shooting in Kaufman, about 33 miles southeast of Dallas.

‘‘I hope the people that did this are watching because we’re very confident that we’re going to pull you out of whatever hole you’re in. We’re going to bring you back and let the people of Kaufman County prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law,’’ District Attorney Mike McLelland said at a news conference.

He said his office, the county, and state had suffered a ‘‘devastating loss’’ and called Hasse a spectacular prosecutor who would not be easily replaced. He said Hasse, head of the organized crime unit, knew the dangers of his job.

Local law enforcement officials decried the shooting as an attack on the criminal justice system. ‘‘We understand that we may come into contact with violent people, but this is the next level,’’ Kaufman County Sheriff David Byrnes said.

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