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Texas DA shot down in his home

| Sunday, March 31, 2013, 7:18 p.m.

KAUFMAN, Texas — Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland took no chances after one of his assistant prosecutors was gunned down two months ago. McLelland said he carried a gun everywhere he went and was extra careful when answering the door at his home.

“I'm ahead of everybody else because, basically, I'm a soldier,” the 23-year Army veteran said in an interview less than two weeks ago.

On Saturday, he and his wife were found shot to death in their rural home outside the town of Forney, about 20 miles from Dallas.

While investigators gave no motive for the killings, Forney Mayor Darren Rozell said: “It appears this was not a random act.

“Everybody's a little on edge and a little shocked,” he said.

The slayings occurred less than two weeks after Colorado's prison chief was shot to death at his front door, apparently by an ex-convict, and a couple of months after Kaufman County Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse was killed in a parking lot a block from his courthouse office. No arrests have been made in Hasse's slaying Jan. 31.

McLelland, 63, is the 13th prosecutor killed in the United States since the National Association of District Attorneys began keeping count in the 1960s.

Sheriff David Byrnes would not give details on Sunday of how the killings unfolded and said there was nothing to indicate for certain whether the DA's slaying was connected to Hasse's.

Sgt. Joe Roybal, El Paso County, Colo., sheriff's spokesman, said investigators had found no evidence so far connecting the Texas killings to the Colorado case, but added, “We're examining all possibilities.”

Colorado's corrections director, Tom Clements, was killed March 19 when he answered the doorbell at his home outside Colorado Springs. Evan Spencer Ebel, a white supremacist and former Colorado inmate suspected of shooting Clements, died in a shootout with Texas deputies two days later about 100 miles from Kaufman.

McLelland himself, in an Associated Press interview shortly after the Colorado slaying, raised the possibility that Hasse was gunned down by a white supremacist gang.

McLelland, elected DA in 2010, said his office had prosecuted several cases against racist gangs, who have a strong presence in Kaufman County, a mostly rural area dotted with subdivisions, with a population of about 104,000.

“We put some real dents in the Aryan Brotherhood around here in the past year,” he said.

In recent years, the DA's office also prosecuted a case in which a justice of the peace was found guilty of theft and burglary and another case in which a man was convicted of killing his former girlfriend and her 10-year-old daughter.

McLelland said he carried a gun everywhere he went, even to walk his dog around town, a bedroom community for the Dallas area. He figured assassins were more likely to try to attack him outside. He said he had warned all his employees to be constantly on the alert.

“The people in my line of work are going to have to get better at it,” he said of dealing with the danger, “because they're going to need it more in the future.”

The number of attacks on prosecutors, judges and senior law enforcement officers has spiked in the past three years.

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