Travis County district judge shot outside home, shooter still on the run


AUSTIN (KXAN) — A manhunt is underway after a Travis County judge was shot outside her home. Austin police say someone opened fire on District Judge Julie Kocurek in the driveway of her Tarrytown home around 10:30 p.m. Friday.

Kocurek had just pulled up to her home on Scenic Drive in West Austin with some other people when the shooting happened, according to police.

She was taken to University Medical Center Brackenridge where she is currently in stable condition. Sources tell KXAN she was admitted into ICU for observation. Sources also say that the judge received injuries to the upper body–left shoulder and face area–but that it was not a direct hit.

Police are searching for the shooter and interviewing witnesses.

“What I would love to report is someone is in custody,” said Austin Police Commander Mark Spangler. “We don’t have anyone in custody. People should use a heightened state of awareness.”

Investigators have not said whether or not the shooting is connected to her work as a judge. Sources tell KXAN that the initial investigation suggests Kocurek was targeted.

Judge Kocurek has served as the presiding judge of the 390th District since January 1999, when she was appointed by then-Governor George W. Bush. She later went on to become the only Republican elected to a state district judgeship in Travis County before switching to the Democratic Party in 2006.

Kocurek’s High Profile Cases

She has been involved in a couple of recent high profile cases in Central Texas including the murder case of Samantha Dean–where she signed search warrants in the case.

Former Austin Police Officer VonTrey Clark is accused of killing the expecting mother. Dean was found shot to death in a Bastrop County parking lot in February, and Clark is awaiting trial.

Judge Kocurek is also presiding over the Debra Baker murder case.

Mark Norwood is her accused killer, and set to go on trial this month. Baker died in her Austin home in 1988.

Investigators linked Norwood to the case through DNA, and indicted by a grand jury in 2012. He’s already serving time behind bars for the 1986 murder of another woman.

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