Slain Texas DA Browsed Gun Store Day Before Murder
(KAUFMAN, Texas) — Kaufman County, Texas, District Attorney Mike McLelland visited a local gun store the day before he and his wife were shot to death in their home.
“He came in to check up and say hi, and see how sales are, and gun control was such a big issue,” Steven O’Neill Kidwell, owner of Helz Firearms in Forney, Texas, told ABC News on Thursday. “His safety was not a concern of his, but his co-workers safety was.”
He said the DA liked to just window shop and stopped in periodically.
“I actually asked him if he was in fear of his life and he said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘I’m more worried about my guys. I’m wanting them to come to work and I want to know how to get them back to work,'” Kidwell said.
McLelland, 63, and his wife, Cynthia, 65, were found dead in their home the next day, March 30, shot multiple times. The killings of the McLellands came weeks after Kaufman County Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse was gunned down outside the county courthouse in January.
Meanwhile, Kaufman County police arrested a man Thursday for allegedly intimidating a prosecutor who was due to try him on a criminal case.
He was the second man held on $1 million bond for making threats against public officials. The Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office announced the arrest of another man Wednesday for allegedly making terroristic threats against county officials.
Neither man appears to be linked to the slayings, authorities say.
This is just the latest in a series of threats to a community already on edge and in mourning.
Authorities evacuated the church of the McLelland family memorial Thursday afternoon after receiving a bomb threat from an unidentified person on a disposable cellphone, according to the Freestone County Sheriff’s Office. Already on extra tight security, snipers lined the church roof with bomb-sniffing dogs and patrolled the parking lot.
More than 1,000 mourners, including Texas Gov. Rick Perry, gathered at the First Baptist Church to pay their respects to the McLellands. Perry added an additional $100,000 of state funds for a reward leading to the arrest and conviction of the killers. Kaufman County had already offered its own $100,000 reward.
“We’re going to hunt you down. We’re going to punish you,” Perry said. “We will not let this cower us. Texas is a law-and-order state and we will track down and punish those who have committed this crime.”
The interim district attorney for Kaufman County spoke publicly for the first time on Thursday, refusing to back down.
“We’re unnerved a little bit but we’re going to stick to our oath and we’re showing up to work every single day to fulfill that oath, serve this community,” Brandi Fernandez said.
There have been no arrests and few concrete leads in the shooting deaths of the McLellands and Hasse.
The funeral for McLelland and his wife was scheduled for Friday morning at the First Baptist Church.
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