Jefferson County Judge Joseph J. Bruzzese Jr. should be counting his blessings today because he was saved by an armed parol officer. He should also be thankful that he was armed and able to return fire when he was ambushed on his way into work by two waiting gunmen.

The ambush occurred outside the Jefferson County Courthouse in Steubenville, Ohio, near the Pennsylvania and West Virginia state lines. Steubenville City Manager James Mavromatis told local media that two suspects ambushed the judge as he entered the courthouse Monday morning. A probation officer in the immediate vicinity returned fire, killing one gunman. Local media reports that Bruzzese himself was armed, and may have returned fire.

The second suspect has been taken into custody, though it is not yet clear if he was armed.

Little is known of the two suspects, but both have criminal records, according to local officials.

“We’re starting to put this whole picture together, but basically what you have is the judge is going to work, these subjects were waiting for them. He comes up, shoots at the judge. The judge returns fire,” Mavromatis said. “We also have a probation officer that was behind the judge. He returns fire as he is shot at. The subject is deceased that he shot at.”

He credited the unnamed probation officer for quickly neutralizing the gunmen, who could have killed the judge and other bystanders were it not for his intervention.

“This probation officer has done his job. He reacted to the threat, trying to save the judge and any other bystander that may have been in the area,” Mavromatis said.


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