Kaufman DA's neighbor: I said "well what about Mike? Do you think he's safe?"

Kaufman DA's neighbor: I said "well what about Mike? Do you think he's safe?"

The Kaufman County courthouse re-opened Monday under tighter security following the discovery Saturday that District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife Cynthia were shot and killed inside their home.

The shootings come two months after Kaufman County Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse was shot in broad daylight in a parking lot one block from the courthouse. At the time his shooting was said to be potentially linked to the District Attorney's office investigating white supremacists in the Aryan Brotherhood. Investigators will not say whether there is a definite link between the two shootings.

The McLellands' home near Forney was still marked as a crime scene Monday. The local sheriff, the Texas Rangers and the FBI are trying to figure out who kicked in their front door and shot them.

"When something like this happens it's like the whole neighborhood has been violated," the McLellands' next door neighbor David Crone said. "And everybody's afraid and you start thinking in your mind what do I need to do precautionary wise or safety wise."

Crone said the FBI came asking whether he heard or saw anything that was out of the ordinary before his neighbors were killed.

"And I really hadn't," he said. "That's what scares me."

After Hasse was killed crone had a conversation with Cynthia.

"She made the statement to me that she didn't think that was going to be all the killings," Crone said. "I said 'well what about Mike? Do you think he's safe?' She said 'I'm not really worried about Mike.'"

Now she and her husband are gone.

When the courthouse re-opened Monday, County Judge Bruce Wood didn't know what to say.

"I've searched all weekend to try to find the right words to describe it and I can't come up with a single word," Wood said. "Unbelievable. [It's like] this really didn't happen but it did."

"This can't be repeated," Kaufman County resident Lillian Lara said outside the courthouse. "It's just ridiculous."

Lara heard about the deadly shootings when she got to the courthouse Monday.

"It will affect our community," she said.

Lara found armed guards escorting people outside and deputies lining the halls inside.

"Inside I feel safe but outside I don't feel that safe because I don't know what's going on," Lara said.

Crone said McLelland carried a gun for protection, adding that he doesn't want to see the District Attorney's death used to bolster anti-gun laws.

"If he was here today he'd tell you the same thing," Crone said.

Instead Crone said he wants investigators to focus on making sure they catch whoever killed Hasse and the McLellands before they do it again.

"Who's got the nerve to do that?" Crone said. "What kind of person can walk in and take two lives instantly and walk out and go on?"

The responsibility for appointing a new District Attorney in Kaufman County falls to Texas Governor Rick Perry. That discussion is already underway.


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