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Officials in Ohio react to Bruzzese shooting

STEUBENVILLE — Officials from across Ohio reacted quickly to the Monday morning shooting of Jefferson County Common Pleas Judge Joseph Bruzzese Jr.

“Fran and I are praying for Judge Bruzzese and his family at this difficult time,” Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said in a statement.

DeWine said the Steubenville Police Department requested the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation to investigate the shooting. BCI has assigned its special investigations, crime scene and cyber units to the investigation.

U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Marietta, said, “I was very saddened and alarmed to hear that Judge Bruzzese was ambushed and shot outside the Jefferson County Courthouse earlier this morning. I’ve worked with him on issues surrounding the Jefferson Metropolitan Housing Authority, and I know he is committed to the people he serves.

“From the shootings at the congressional baseball practice, to today’s tragic shooting, public officials are increasingly under assault. Public service shouldn’t be a dangerous occupation, but it all too often is. I’ll be praying for Judge Bruzzese’s recovery,” added Johnson.

Bruzzese has been an attorney since 1976, when he graduated from Ohio Northern University. He was the county court judge at Wintersville for many years before being elected to replace longtime common pleas Judge Domenick Olivito in 1995. Bruzzese won re-election to his latest term in 2014.

State Sen. Frank Hoagland, R-Mingo Junction, said he and his wife, Darla, are praying for a full recovery “from today’s shocking daytime shooting in front of the courthouse.”

“We honor his long-term service to the people of Jefferson County and thank our brave law enforcement officers and first responders for their quick response,” said Hoagland.

“We were shocked and saddened by the news that Judge Joseph Bruzzese Jr. was shot and injured outside of the Jefferson County Courthouse. As we await news of Judge Bruzzese’s condition, our thoughts and prayers are with his family and the medical professionals attending to his injuries,” Ohio State Bar Association President Randall Comer said.

“The attempt on Judge Bruzzese’s life in a cowardly ambush reminds us all of the very real potential for violence against judges. Violence against judges represents an attack on the rule of law, the foundation of our country. I urge all court employees, especially judges, to take extra precautions both in your personal and professional activities. The entire judiciary stands with judge Bruzzese and his family as they remain in our prayers,” Ohio Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor said in a prepared statement Monday.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said, “Connie and I are thinking of Judge Bruzzese and his family and we pray for his recovery. I join all Ohioans in expressing my gratitude for local law enforcement who responded. My office will support local authorities and the state as they investigate this senseless act.”

Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor said in tweet, “My prayers are with Jefferson County Judge Joseph Bruzzese and his family. Thankful for the quick actions by Steubenville law enforcement.”

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